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Johannesburg - Outgoing national Planning Minister Trevor Manuel has said South Africans need to uphold democracy by respecting state institutions, the Sunday Times reported.
“If every time Trevor Manuel gets up and he speaks badly of parliament and he speaks badly of the courts, he speaks badly of the auditor-general, of the public protector, he makes press statements against them, then what you invite is open season on everything,” Manuel told the newspaper.
“You don't have to like the individual but you have to respect the office.”
Manuel said that if people did not show respect for these bodies then democracy could come under threat.
“Democracy will always struggle if its institutions are weakened.”
Manuel also told the newspaper that his brief resignation as finance minister in 2008 was based on principle after then president Thabo Mbeki was recalled.
“I still think it's a bad decision (that Mbeki was recalled).”
Manuel also dismissed allegations that DA leader Helen Zille had tried to court him to join her party and become the face of its election campaign.
“I have never had a one-on with Helen about this matter...I wasn't offered the leadership. I wasn't even offered lunch.”
Manuel, a veteran anti-apartheid activist and ANC stalwart, has served in cabinet since 1994.
He is set to bow out of government after the general elections in May this year.