The Presidency has filed an appeal against Judge Bashier Vally’s order for President Jacob Zuma to furnish the reasons for firing finance minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy, Mcebisi Jonas, and reshuffling his cabinet last month.
The DA filed papers at the Pretoria High Court last week asking that Zuma give reasons for axing Gordhan and Jonas‚ using Rule 53 of the Uniform Rules of the Court that requires boards and tribunals to provide reasons for their decisions when those decisions are challenged in court.
Vally gave Zuma until the close of business today to explain why he had fired the two ministers‚ saying even the president’s decisions could be reviewed in a fair hearing in court.
Zuma’s lawyer argued the rule did not apply to him and that it was on this basis that Zuma was appealing against the decision.
The Presidency said the court was overreaching itself in ordering Zuma to explain himself.
It said: “Nothing in the language of Rule 53 suggests that it should be interpreted to include executive decisions. Such an approach violates the separation of powers.”
But Vally said the rule allowed the court to exercise its duty to keep checks and balances on the government’s exercise of power.
“This‚ in turn‚ gives effect to a litigant’s right in terms of Section 34 of the constitution to have a justiciable dispute decided in a fair public hearing before a court with all the issues being properly ventilated.”
The Presidency said the decision to reshuffle the cabinet was an exercise of a constitutional power.
Zuma’s appeal papers ask the DA to provide the intelligence report from which it quoted.
The DA quotes from the report which was said by Gordhan to be the reason he was fired.
Gordhan was angry because the report suggested that his investor road show in London was a cover for planning a coup.
The DA said the bizarre request for the intelligence report was merely a delaying tactic so that Zuma would not have to account to the court.