South Africa: Does the President Have Too Much Power? Yes (And No)

opinion

Willie Hofmeyr overstates the position when he says that the powers of appointment which the president has under the Constitution are unqualified. The rule of law is regarded as supreme, which means that anything done by the president has to be within the confines of the doctrine of legality and must serve a legitimate purpose of government.

Willie Hofmeyr, after ending 20 years of service in the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), has, according to weekend media reports, come out strongly in favour of clipping the presidential wings by restricting his constitutional role. Hofmeyr complains of an over-concentration of power in the hands of the president, pointing out that all senior appointments in the NPA are the "unqualified" business of the president.

Hofmeyr is not the first to so complain. The former deputy chief justice, Dikgang Moseneke, has also raised the topic, saying back in 2014 that too much power vests in the presidency.

It should not be imagined, insofar as the NPA is concerned, that the South African Constitution is unique. In the US, the attorney-general, who has the role of chief prosecutor, is a member of the cabinet, a position not enjoyed (or perhaps endured) by our national director...

See What Everyone is Watching

More From: Daily Maverick

Don't Miss

AllAfrica publishes around 600 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.