POLITICS

Zuma Could Appeal High Court's Reshuffle Order

Legal expert says the courts shouldn't be seen to intervene in presidential prerogatives.

10/05/2017 11:16 SAST | Updated 10/05/2017 15:19 SAST
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President Jacob Zuma gives a press conference during an official visit of the President of the Central African Republic on April 5, 2017 at the Sefako M Makgatho Presidential Guesthouse in Pretoria.

President Jacob Zuma will probably appeal North Gauteng High Court Judge Bashier Vally's ruling that he must furnish his reasons for the axing of former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy, Mcebisi Jonas.

That's according to constitutional law expert Professor Marinus Wiechers, who says the president will argue that the hiring and firing of ministers is a presidential prerogative.

Zuma has until the close of business on Thursday to submit a record that led to his decisions ahead of the controversial cabinet reshuffle at the end of March.

Wiechers says Zuma has a good chance of winning an appeal. "The reshuffling of a cabinet is the president's prerogative – whether it was a good or bad decision on his part is to be deliberated in Parliament. When the courts start making decisions about political issues, it gives the impression that they want to govern the country," Wiechers said.

"The Constitution is clear about this. The courts can intervene if there is a constitutional obligation on the part of the president that he has not fulfilled. Reshuffling of a cabinet is an act of governance, something which remains in the political realm. It is not for the courts to rule on the reasons for such a decision."

Vally ruled in favour of the Democratic Alliance's (DA) urgent application to have the president reveal all, citing Rule 53 of the Unified Rules of Court, which relates to reviews of decisions.

The DA said their lawyers had not received any indication thus far as to whether Zuma will appeal or not.

Spokesperson for the Presidency Bongani Ngqulunga could not be reached for comment and did not respond to SMS questions on if Zuma would appeal. ANC spokesman Zizi Kodwa simply said the party does not know.