While South Africa does not have a law inscribing qualifying criteria for Cabinet Members, nonetheless, once in office, they have a duty to conduct themselves in a particular manner, which is beyond reproach. This includes adherence to the letter and spirit of the Constitution, as well as the Executive Ethics Code, and the Code of Ethical Conduct and Disclosure of Members’ Interests for Assembly and Permanent Council Members. Minister Gigaba’s conduct falls far short of this duty and he no longer bears the gravitas and lacks the integrity necessary for one to hold the position.
In any event, staying in the position opens up the President’s conduct (or lack thereof) to a rationality challenge before the courts. This is on the basis that it is irrational for individuals who have flouted both the Constitution and other legislation to remain in a position where they exercise public power. Simply put, he does the nation a great disservice by remaining in the office and it is time that the President paid heed to these concerns.
By Ms Phephelaphi Dube: Director, Centre for Constitutional Rights
2 November 2018