DA in new bid to force Zuma to explain his cabinet reshuffle

President Jacob Zuma looks on during the swearing in of new cabinet ministers following a reshuffle that replaced Pravin Gordhan as finance minister, 31 March 2017

The DA has filed an urgent application with the North Gauteng High Court seeking to force President Jacob Zuma to supply reasons for his decision to reshuffle the cabinet‚ including firing finance minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas.

“This latest urgent application is necessary to force the president to disclose the reasons for, and the record of his decision to reshuffle his cabinet so that our earlier application to review the rationality of his decision can proceed‚” DA federal executive chairman James Selfe said.

“In our founding papers for this urgent application to compel‚ the DA requests the court to order President Zuma to provide a written record of decision and reasons for the reshuffle‚ yet disingenuously the president’s reply to our papers claims that South Africa is not entitled to know why he acted as he did because he was exercising his executive power.”

Selfe noted that in a letter from the state attorney‚ he stated that “the decision to reshuffle [the] cabinet as he did was informed by his political judgment that the reshuffle will best deliver on the mandate of the ANC”.

However‚ Selfe said this did not in any way justify the president’s decision being beyond scrutiny.

“Every exercise of public power must be subject to the principles of legality and rationality‚ especially the exercise of all of the president’s powers‚ which include decisions to appoint or dismiss ministers and deputy ministers,” he said.

The DA believed the president made the decision‚ especially the axing of Gordhan and Jonas‚ based on political considerations to put himself above the people of South Africa‚ which made it all the more important that he provide an explanation.

“The effect of his decision is plain to see and led directly to two international rating agencies downgrading our country to junk status,” Selfe said.

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