Quote of the week

An ‘important purpose of section 34 [of the Constitution] is to guarantee the protection of the judicial process to persons who have disputes that can be resolved by law’ and that the right of access to court is ‘foundational to the stability of an orderly society. It ensures the peaceful, regulated and institutionalised mechanisms to resolve disputes, without resorting to self-help. The right of access to court is a bulwark against vigilantism, and the chaos and anarchy which it causes. Construed in this context of the rule of law and the principle against self-help in particular, access to court is indeed of cardinal importance’.The right guaranteed s34 would be rendered meaningless if court orders could be ignored with impunity:the underlying purposes of the right — and particularly that of avoidance of self-help — would be undermined if litigants could decide which orders they wished to obey and which they wished to ignore.

Plasket AJ
Victoria Park Ratepayers' Association v Greyvenouw CC and others (511/03) [2003] ZAECHC 19 (11 April 2003)
20 September 2008

Who will be the President?

If the ANC decides not to have an early election, a President must be chosen within 30 days from among the members of the National Assembly. As Jacob Zuma is not a member of the National Assembly and cannot become one before the election because he is not at the top of one of their election lists, the question is who will take over as caretaker President until the next election.

Some newspaper reports have suggested the Speaker Baleka Mbete will take over. But she will first have to resign as Speaker before she could be elected President for the period until the next election by June 2009. Some suggests that Kgalema Motlanthe is not trusted by the Zuma camp but he should be the obvious choice for caretaker President until the 2009 election.

I am surprised the ANC has not said anything about this at the news conference. They have been very vague, merely muttering about “Parliamentary process”. If they want stability they need to tell us as soon as possible what the next move is. Or have they not yet decided on a next move? If they have not, they are even more irresponsible than I thought.

See also my post here that spells out the procedures in the Constitution for when a President resigns.

UPDATE: Two thoughts just came to me. Maybe the Presidency is referring to the requirement that the cabinet must designate an acting President from among its members and will only resign once the cabinet has designated one of its members to act as President? Also, maybe the President wants to resign in a speech to the National Assembly. Now that will be an interesting speech to watch!

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