Southern Africa: Zuma & Mkhwebane’s Abuse of Legal System Endangers SA’s Constitutional Democracy

In real life, Professor Balthazar is one of South Africa’s foremost legal minds. He chooses to remain anonymous, so it doesn’t interfere with his daily duties.

Their applications, which seek to prevent the legal system from bringing their cases to a conclusion, undermine the very legitimacy of the system.

It has become almost trite to observe that the erosion of democracy is now a global phenomenon. The style of leaders ranging from Donald Trump to Viktor Orbán, Vladimir Putin, Narendra Modi and Boris Johnson has become more the norm than the exception.

In a recent article in the Hague Journal on the Rule of Law, it has been suggested that “economic inequality, political polarisation, cultural backlash against rapid social, moral and demographic change, the scapegoating of immigrants and minorities by political forces, the profound and often negative effect of technology on society and the political system, the rise of non-liberal alternative governance models viewed as successful” have all contributed to the trend of democratic decay.

That decay is particularly evident in the widespread subversion of democratic institutions and the values that these institutions are intended to promote. These contemporary authoritarians, unlike their predecessors, take the form of law seriously, degrade…