By acting as a “loyal and disciplined member of the ANC”, he undermined the legitimacy of the constitution In a recent speech, former South African President Thabo Mbeki decried the failure of parliament to act against President Jacob Zuma after the Constitutional Court had declared him in breach of the constitution. This is after Zuma failed to honour the recommendations of the Public Protector’s report on the scandalous expenditure on his homestead in Nkandla.This is most welcome. But Mbeki’s intervention in favour of constitutional propriety is actually eight years too late.The consequences of the decisions he took on being ousted by his party, the African National Congress (ANC), as State President in 2008 set a precedent and are still being felt today. By choosing not to fight the ANC over his recall, he missed a major opportunity to assert the primacy of South Africa’s constitution. And the chickens are coming home to roost.It is worth recalling the events of 12 September 200...

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