Moseneke calls for review of the President's powers


Deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke attends a farewell function for Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobe at the Constitutional Court in Johannesburg, Thursday, 11 August 2011 where he passed down his last judgement in the court.

JOHANNESBURG - Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke has questioned the amount of power vested in President Jacob Zuma, Beeld newspaper reported on Friday.

He said when the Constitution was being formulated and there were differences over who had the power to appoint a state official, negotiators were too eager to put much power in former president Nelson Mandela&39;s hands.

"He [Mandela] would have done the right thing," said Moseneke in the Afrikaans daily.

But the concentration of powers to appoint and remove an official that Zuma had, was something the country ignored at its own risk.

"In a few instances the president exercises these powers with Parliament and other state institutions. The rest are at the president&39;s own discretion," said Moseneke.

He was speaking at the Mapungubwe Institute and the Thabo Mbeki Leadership Institute at Unisa in Pretoria.

The court had already had to judge several of Zuma&39;s appointments. The question was how to protect appointments from the whim of the appointing authority.

"I propose that we consider the distribution of open power in the following two decades. Naturally, amending executive power is going to be a difficult task."

An important debate was whether Cabinet members and MPs could keep their promise to hold the executive accountable and would MPs "be prepared to shake the executive&39;s cage?"

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