The thinking, if reported correctly, of the basis of Jacob Zuma's submissions to the National Prosecuting Authority, is worrisome. According to reports, Zuma wants to show that former president Thabo Mbeki was the big fish while he was small fry in the arms deal corruption.
We do not accept the thinking that admitting taking a minor part in a crime entitles one to get off scot-free, especially if such a person has designs of being trusted with the welfare of all South Africans.
If there is indeed evidence that Mbeki is guilty of a crime, then by all means he must be charged and get his day in court.
Too much has been made about this case being more about politics rather than about the administration. We do not necessarily dispute this. But the politics, acrimonious as they are, cannot hold all the truths.
That is why we should defer to the courts to find what the facts are and if there are guilty parties, to punish them.
Though we accept that prosecuting a former and a future head on charges that they are corrupt will harm our country's international reputation, we hold that the damage internally will be beyond measure.
We would be sending a message to our future heads of state that they could plunder all they like, knowing that they are protected by our reluctance to hang our dirty linen in public.
We will not be blackmailed into having to choose who between Mbeki and Zuma must be prosecuted. It is not about them.
We could not be bothered about the names or past glories or reputations of those suspected of any crime.
We could never tolerate the institutionalisation of graft. The mentality that says we should opt for the least corrupt among the other corrupt is a pathway to a modern day Gomorrah - a land where any filth goes.
It is time to put South Africa first, not the ephemeral concepts that political parties are.
Happily, the courts are bound by seeking what is in the best interests of justice rather than of a country, and even less, of political parties.