“Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown”: when national executives are under siege – a South African perspective

The executive branch wields a considerable amount of power. If this power, however, is abused or captured by third parties it may have dire consequences for a state’s democratic system, people, and economy. Recently the situation in South Africa with regard to the President (national execuitve) has become increasingly strained. The South African President seems to be under siege from all sides. The relationship between the President, the legislature and other political role players has become characterised by conflict and litigation. The paper will firstly strive to analyse recent South African judgments which address these issues. Secondly the paper will strive to indicate how the abuse of executive power leads to unhealthy developments in democratic systems and weakens the democratic fabric of society. Thirdly the paper will include a comparative analysis, where after the paper concludes with remarks on the importance of checks and balances in order to protect a state’s democracy.