In most countries, where a president has been severely censured by the highest courts in the land – and shown to be acting in his own interests and not those of the nation – it would be almost a matter of course that that head of state would step down.
But, in South Africa, Jacob Zuma has shown his hide is thicker than a rhino’s when it comes to criticism, either by his political opponents or by the judiciary.
So, we are not holding our breath about whether he will continue sitting in the Union Buildings until 2019.
Because, let us not forget, that no matter the importance of the ANC’s upcoming elective conference, Zuma’s hands will still be firmly on the levers of power.
And he has never looked like relaxing that vice-like grip on his executive functions. On the contrary, he has turned the presidency – and his clique around him – into the nexus of power.
His executive decisions have changed the country in so many ways; and possibly opened up our government to state capture.
However, yesterday’s earth-shaking decisions by the high court have sent a message, yet again, that our judiciary is what stands between us and outright dictatorship.
That’s because the courts told Zuma that he could not stall the release of the public protector’s report on state capture; that a judicial inquiry must be set up under a judge appointed by the chief justice and, finally, that Zuma is liable, in his personal capacity, for the costs of all his legal ducking and diving.
The judgments are an attempt to rein in Zuma and get him to act, as the constitution requires him to do, and in the best interests of the country.
And clearly, a judge had to do this because the ANC cannot – or will not – stop the rot.