Collateral damage

2008-09-24 00:00

President Thabo Mbeki’s dignified farewell speech at the weekend seemed to suggest that his departure tomorrow would be a quiet and discreet slipping away. Not so. With an urgent appeal to the Constitutional Court, he has apparently begun a new round in the fight against the Zuma camp in the ANC by asking that “remarks made in passing” by Judge Chris Nicholson in his ruling in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court earlier this month be set aside. Nicholson, it will be recalled, had ruled that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) had not given Zuma the opportunity to make representations before deciding to charge him again for fraud and corruption. Dealing with a secondary matter, he found that the Minister of Justice, with the probable knowledge of the president, had meddled in the NPA’s decision to prosecute.

It has been contended that it was unwise or wrong of him to have dealt with this aspect, using words likely to inflame public, and especially party-political, feeling: several senior jurists have expressed their dismay at what they describe as “irrelevant” and “unfair” and believe he should have been more circumspect. Whatever the basis for Nicholson’s finding, the fact remains that it has had serious repercussions, becoming the final nail in the coffin of the Mbeki presidency.

In view of this it’s possible to have some sympathy for Mbeki, and with his attempts to salvage legally something of the dignity and pride he believes to have been damaged by Nicholson, and to have the opportunity — denied to him at the time — to speak for himself. Even so, and even if the Constitutional Court rules in his favour, he should not delude himself that he can make a presidential comeback.

Even those many South Africans who do not detest him, as do Zuma supporters in the ANC‚ acknowledge that his leadership was sadly flawed, that he was often inflexible, overweening and arbitrary in his decisions, and often remote and out of touch with the needs of ordinary people.

Mbeki is yesterday’s man and there is no comeback trail for him. South Africa is already moving on, and so should he.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/Sport

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.