'Judgment on reasons for reshuffle encroaches executive realm'

Rogan Ward  Reuters                       South African President Jacob Zuma

But the courts would not be able to properly consider an upcoming application by the DA to review the firings without records, the party's advocate Steven Budlender said, relying heavily on the precedent set in the spy tapes matter.

However‚ Zuma's lawyers argued that the DA had already acknowledged this and‚ on that basis‚ was not entitled to any record of the decision.

THE Congress of the People (Cope) welcomed the North Gauteng High Court judgement that President Jacob Zuma had to explain the reasons why he reshuffled the Cabinet which saw the axing of former finance minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas.

The High Court in Pretoria yesterday ruled that Zuma must hand over the record of his decision to the Democratic Alliance within five working days. "The timing of the announcement of the reshuffle, in the middle of the night, also serves to highlight the real motives and intent by the President Zuma".

"The appointment of ministers and deputies, as well as reshuffling of Cabinet, is a discretionary and political decision of the President of the Republic derived from the Constitution".


The judgment could have serious ramifications for Mr Zuma if any information he supplies to the courts shows he was not acting in the best interests of the country.

The reshuffle prompted worldwide rating agencies Standard & Poor's and Fitch to downgrade South Africa's sovereign credit to junk status in April.

When asked whether he would return to the post once more, if the High Court in Pretoria found that Zuma's decision was irrational, Gordhan said no.

It was not immediately clear if Zuma would appeal Thursday's ruling.

Kodwa said Zuma has no obligation to provide reasons to anyone for changes he makes to his Cabinet. It's a legitimate legal process and I'm sure there are going to be further steps in the process, so let's wait and see", he said on the sidelines of the opening of an exhibition titled "Promises and Lies: "The ANC, Exile and the Project of Freedom".

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