In 1974 Richard Nixon resigned as US president to avoid impeachment for having misled Americans about his knowledge about the break-in into the Democratic Party offices at Watergate in 1972.
Criminally, the burglary was insignificant. Nothing was stolen and national security was not compromised. But Nixon resigned because he had violated the integrity of the office of president.
In 2007, President Thabo Mbeki asked the nation to trust him on the Jackie Selebi issue. Recently, he said that no one had brought him any incriminating evidence about the Selebi affair.
Acting director of the NPA Mokotedi Mpshe said that on 10 occasions, information about Selebi's relationship with crime syndicates was given to Mbeki. When then NPA head Vusi Pikoli told Mbeki about his decision to arrest Selebi, the president suspended Pikoli.
Mbeki also said in connection with his possible involvement in the arms scandal that he could not recall meeting French arms manufacturer Thint in 1998. But a report published on February 13 states that he did have a meeting on December 17 1998.
Mbeki's admission that he failed to act on Eskom's 1998 report to expand capacity needs no further elaboration.
The consequences for the economy speak volumes.
Nixon resigned for far less. Mbeki's resignation is overdue.
Duncan du Bois, Durban