Zuma reshuffle: Court’s ruling is ‘worrisome’, should be appealed - ANC

Zizi Kodwa (Herman Verwey, Netwerk24)
Zizi Kodwa (Herman Verwey, Netwerk24)

The African National Congress says it is concerned by the North Gauteng High Court’s ruling that President Jacob Zuma must disclose his reasons for his latest Cabinet reshuffle.

Judge Bashier Vally on Thursday ruled that Zuma must hand over all records explaining the reason why he made changes to 20 positions in his Cabinet by midnight on March 30.

Vally said he would give reasons for the ruling next Tuesday.

"This judgment signifies unfettered encroachment of the judiciary into the realm of the executive - pandering to the whims of the opposition who want to co-govern with the popularly elected government through the courts," ANC national spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said on Friday.

"The Constitution confers upon the president powers to constitute his Cabinet without imposing an obligation upon him to consult opposition parties in the exercise of this discretionary function."

Kodwa’s statement was much stronger than comments he made immediately after the ruling on Thursday.

He told News24 on Thursday that the ANC respected the independence of the judiciary and the doctrine of separation of powers, and it was up to the Presidency to decide to appeal the ruling.

On Friday, Kodwa said that reading into the Constitution that the president must explain his Cabinet decisions was "to use the judiciary to police political decisions and sets a very worrisome precedent".

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

He urged Zuma to appeal the judgment.

The Democratic Alliance, which filed the application, said on Thursday that the matter was urgent, because more damage was being done to the economy with every passing day.

"There is a another ratings agency that is going to make an announcement about whether to downgrade South Africa, and we are hoping that the court can play with us in reviewing the rationality as soon as possible," the party’s James Selfe said outside the court.

Selfe said they were a step closer to reviewing the reasons for the sacking of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.

President Jacob Zuma said in Durban on Thursday that he had reshuffled his Cabinet make room for young people in government.

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

"I reshuffled my Cabinet recently and I put a lot of young people in my Cabinet," Zuma said in his response.

"Of course, people have different views about that, but that’s democracy."

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