Cabinet reshuffle: ConCourt dismisses Presidency's leave to appeal application

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Jacob Zuma. (Photo: Deaan Vivier)
Jacob Zuma. (Photo: Deaan Vivier)

The Constitutional Court has dismissed an application for leave to appeal from the Presidency after the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) dismissed its bid to have the court overturn a ruling relating to the release of records explaining former president Jacob Zuma's infamous late-night Cabinet reshuffle.

During this reshuffle Pravin Gordhan was axed as finance minister along with his deputy, Mcebisi Jonas.

"The majority judgment concluded that it is ordinarily not in the interests of justice to entertain an appeal against an interlocutory order. In the result the application for leave to appeal is dismissed," Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng said in handing down judgment on Wednesday.  

A "dodgy" intelligence report allegedly sparked the reshuffle that resulted in Zuma demanding that Gordhan cut short his investor roadshow abroad and return home.

The DA lodged a review application, in terms of Rule 53 of the Uniform Rules of Court, challenging the constitutional validity of Zuma's reshuffle on April 4, 2017.

It argued at the time that, through Rule 53, it sought, among other relief, disclosure of the record of Zuma's decision.

ALSO READ | High Court dismisses DA bid to halt Cabinet reshuffle

Zuma previously described this as an abuse of court processes and argued that he exercised his powers in terms of Section 91 (2) of the Constitution, which gave him the prerogative to choose his executive. He said that changing his Cabinet was an executive decision that deserved protection from disclosure.

The DA succeeded in the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria.

Zuma previously approached the SCA but when he stepped down from his position on February 14, 2018, President Cyril Ramaphosa continued to pursue the matter so that the High Court ruling did not set a precedent for future Cabinet reshuffles.

Last year, the SCA said the relief the Presidency sought would not have any practical effect or result.

"The appeal must, therefore, be dismissed," the SCA ruled at the time, saying that circumstances had changed.

- Compiled by Vanessa Banton

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