Cyril facing two legal battles

President Cyril Ramaphosa File photo
President Cyril Ramaphosa File photo
Image: Kevin Sutherland

President Cyril Ramaphosa will on Thursday fight a court ruling that could be used to force him to disclose his reasons for cabinet reshuffles – as he simultaneously comes under fire for using his “political judgment” to defend his decision not to fire minister Bathabile Dlamini.

Ramaphosa’s lawyers have turned to the Constitutional Court to seek to overturn a Supreme Court of Appeal ruling concerning his predecessor Jacob Zuma’s controversial decision to fire former finance minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy, Mcebisi Jonas.

The DA challenged that decision, and brought a court application that would effectively force Zuma to disclose the socalled “intelligence report” that he reportedly used to accuse Gordhan and Jonas of treason, and justify their removal.

The DA won that application in both the high and appeal courts, but Ramaphosa is hoping to convince South Africa’s highest court that the president should not be expected to explain his reasons for cabinet reshuffles, by providing a so-called “Rule 53” record of whatever informed his decisions to hire and fire ministers.

Simultaneously, he has asked the high court in Pretoria not to hear a separate court bid by the DA to challenge his decision not to fire Dlamini, despite the damning findings made against her by the Constitutional Court.

Dlamini, who has previously suggested Ramaphosa was guilty of spousal abuse, is president of the ANC Women’s League and holds considerable political power in the ANC.

“Decisions as to whom to appoint and to retain in the cabinet are decisions of an essentially political nature, which . . . are not matters that are appropriately to be debated in court,” Ramaphosa states.

The Constitutional Court has asked law enforcement authorities to investigate whether Dlamini should face criminal charges for allegedly lying under oath in court.

Ramaphosa says he was advised that the findings made against Dlamini in connection with her handling of the Sassa grants payment crisis “do not disqualify her from continued membership in the cabinet”.

However, the DA maintains that the advice given to Ramaphosa was wrong.