S/African court gives Zuma week to explain midnight cabinet reshuffle

Rogan Ward  Reuters                       South African President Jacob Zuma

Rogan Ward Reuters South African President Jacob Zuma

The DA said it wanted the court to review and set aside Zuma's decision to dismiss Gordhan and Jonas.

The ruling made on Thursday by Judge Bashir Vally follows an application by the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) on April 24 asking the court to force President Zuma to disclose his reasons for the Cabinet reshuffle.

Former finance minister Pravin Gordhan would not return to his job, even if the courts found that President Jacob Zuma had erred by unceremoniously removing him and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas from their positions.

"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, hence we urge the President to appeal this judgment".

He told News24 he had not read about Judge Bashier Vally's ruling earlier that Zuma must hand over all the documents he used to justify changing his Cabinet on March 30. "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".

Zuma argued he was exercising his powers in terms of section 91 (2) of the Constitution and that he took an executive decision that deserved protection from disclosure.

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The ANC says the court ruling amounts to opposition parties using the judiciary to police political decisions and sets a very worrisome precedent.

The president's reshuffle prompted two ratings agencies to downgrade the country's investment status to junk, and the DA believes this shows his actions were irrational and harmful to ordinary South Africans.

Ramaphosa usually publicly backs Zuma and his criticism of Gordhan's sacking was a sign of deepening divisions in the ruling African National Congress that are likely to worsen until the party elects a new leader in December.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa, Zuma was responding to a question from the floor on how young people can play a bigger role in decision making.

"It is an abuse of court process", he said.

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