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There’s hope we can rescue SA from the brink - Thabo Mbeki

08 August 2017 - 07:11 By Staff Reporter
Former South African President; Thabo Mbeki. File photo.
Former South African President; Thabo Mbeki. File photo.
Image: Gallo Images / Sunday Times / Alaister Russell

Former President Thabo Mbeki says there is still hope that South Africa can be saved from the crisis that it is currently facing.

In a statement released by the Thabo Mbeki Foundation on Tuesday‚ the former president said South Africa should look at general challenges not simply as a crisis but as a possible opportunity to redirect the country from a “destructive trajectory and to what is inimical to the historic mission of the liberation‚ to a country that our Constitution promise”.

“There is a genuine hope that our country will be saved from the brink. Such hope is inspired by the active citizenry through their various formations‚ who are continuously making their voices heard against the abuse of power‚ abuse of resource‚ threats to our sovereignty and the Constitutional order‚” he said.

Mbeki said the decision by the Speaker‚ Baleka Mbete‚ to properly follow both the Court’s injunction and Constitutional dictates‚ owed much to renewed levels of activism in the country.

Mbeki said what gives the country and the continent confidence and a sense of pride is that these activisms‚ displayed by people of South Africa have been nothing but legal and peaceful‚ he said.

Mbete announced earlier that the vote of no confidence against President Jacob Zuma would be conducted using a secret ballot. Her late announcement follows a Constitutional Court ruling which said she has the powers to decide how the vote is conducted.

“In the end‚ our public representatives have been put in a comfortable position to exercise their decision freely‚ without fear and hindrance. The Public Representatives therefore have a historic task to respect and act according to what the progressive movements led by the ANC had helped to insert into the Constitution‚ thus to honour the demand in the Freedom Charter that the people shall govern.

“Whatever the results of the decision in the National Assembly on the confidence on the President of the Republic‚ there is a huge task ahead that is facing our Nation‚ which task goes beyond the person of the President of the Republic.

"Such task must surely focus our people to respect Constitutional Institutions‚ serve our people with honour and act always to promote their interest‚ chart a clear and concerted approach to rebuild our economy and more importantly‚ to entrench and deepen our Constitutional Democracy‚” Mbeki said.

During a press briefing‚ Mbete said she had taken "due and impartial consideration of all the factors" in making her decision and was mindful of the fact that a motion of no confidence was a "powerful tool towards holding the president to account". She said by allowing for a secret ballot‚ they would "use the opportunity to show responsiveness to our people".

Parties forcing members to toe a party line would fall foul of the Constitution‚ she added.

"In terms of the Constitutional Court judgment if Members are constitutionally obliged to vote according to their conscience it follows that no Member can suffer any harm‚ hardship or punitive action if they comply with the Constitution and vote according to their conscience.

"A reading of the Constitutional Court judgment suggests that any action of a political party against a public representative who voted in accordance with their conscience may be struck down for violating the Constitution.”