2008-02-08 00:00

Today President Thabo Mbeki reports to the nation. This is symbolic of the fact that, in spite of the outcome of last December’s Polokwane conference, he is still the elected leader of all South Africans; accountable to them, not just to his party.

It is a timely reminder of the basics of democracy, which has received a boost in recent weeks. Leader of the opposition, Helen Zille, met Mbeki for a confidential briefing on matters of national importance. Parliament was recalled for a debate on the power crisis. And shortly there will be a debate around a motion of no confidence in the government proposed by the Independent Democrats.

This is democracy in action in the spirit of the Constitution and, to his credit, Mbeki is playing his part. It makes total, and refreshing, nonsense of the bluster from Luthuli House about the African National Congress’s assumed monopoly of power.

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