Reshuf­fle rul­ing re­prieve for pres­i­dent

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - TEBOGO MONAMA

PRES­I­DENT Ja­cob Zuma has, for now, sur­vived an­other at­tempt to an­swer why he sud­denly reshuf­fled his cab­i­net in the mid­dle of the night at the end of March.

Yes­ter­day, the high court in Joburg granted Zuma leave to ap­peal an ear­lier rul­ing that he re­veal rea­sons why he reshuf­fled his cab­i­net.

Judge Bashier Vally’s or­der means Zuma will ap­proach the Supreme Court of Ap­peal to re­verse the orig­i­nal judg­ment.

In the reshuf­fle, for­mer fi­nance min­is­ter Pravin Gord­han and his deputy Mce­bisi Jonas were re­moved from their po­si­tions. At the time, there were mur­murs that an in­tel­li­gence re­port was the rea­son for the reshuf­fle.

The DA filed an ur­gent ap­pli­ca­tion in April to force Zuma to dis­close his rea­sons for reshuf­fling cab­i­net and Judge Vally ruled in favour of the ap­pli­ca­tion.

In ex­plain­ing his rul­ing, the judge said: “It is no ex­ag­ger­a­tion to say that it was re­ceived with shock, alarm and dis­may by many. One rea­son for this is that it came on the heels of an ex­ten­sive public com­plaint that in­ces­sant malver­sa­tion had em­bed­ded it­self in our public life and that the coun­try was mired in the quick­sand of cor­rup­tion.”

Zuma’s lawyers stated that the pres­i­dent ar­gued that Rule 53 of the Uni­form Rules of the Court do not per­mit the re­view of an ex­ec­u­tive de­ci­sion.

Rule 53 in­di­cated that a per­son who sought to re­view a de­ci­sion must be pro­vided with all records that were used to make a de­ci­sions.

Ish­mael Se­menya, SC, for Zuma, said last month’s or­der had amended the rule to in­clude the pro­vi­sion of the record, even for an ex­ec­u­tive de­ci­sion.

In a writ­ten judg­ment yes­ter­day, Vally said: “I have come to the con­clu­sion that there is no rea­son­able prospect that an­other court would come to a dif­fer­ent con­clu­sion.

“How­ever, it is a no­to­ri­ous fact that the public in­ter­est in this case… has been wide, deep and in­tense. I’m en­ti­tled to take ju­di­cial no­tice of this fact.”

Judge Vally said ar­gu­ments by Zuma that re­leas­ing his rea­sons for the reshuf­fle would fun­da­men­tally im­pact on how his of­fice op­er­ated stood.

“The DA was not able to dis­pel or dis­credit these claims,” the judge said.

“In these cir­cum­stances, this mat­ter should be brought to the at­ten­tion of a higher court. It’s one of those very rare cases where the public in­ter­est in the mat­ter is so high and the or­der has sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on the op­er­a­tions of the Pres­i­dency that it’s nec­es­sary a higher court… look into the mat­ter afresh.”

Ja­cob Zuma

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