04/05/2017 12:01 SAST | Updated 04/05/2017 16:46 SAST

This Is Why Zuma Needs To Explain Why He Fired Gordhan

As the DA goes to court to force the president to explain himself over his recent Cabinet reshuffle, we asked political experts why it's important.

Rogan Ward / Reuters
South Africa's President Jacob Zuma.


The High Court in Tshwane will soon hear the Democratic Alliance's (DA) arguments to compel President Jacob Zuma to explain the decision behind his most recent Cabinet reshuffle. The reshuffle resulted the axing of former finance minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy, Mcebisi Jonas.

The DA filed an urgent application last month at the court to reveal his reasons for the controversial midnight reshuffle in March. The DA wants the changes at Treasury to be set aside. Due to the urgency of the application, the president was required the furnish the court with his reasons for the reshuffle by April 11. This wasn't done.

According to local political analysts and academics, Susan Booysen and Daryl Glaser, this is why Zuma should explain his decision:

  1. Although the Constitution gives the president the authority to chop and change his Cabinet at his will, his decisions should be made transparently in the spirit of democracy. South African citizens should know if Zuma's reshuffle was for his own political survival or for the good of the country.
  2. With so many scandals and revelations surrounding Zuma and his current Cabinet -- which has increased public doubt in executive decisions -- a hyper need for accountability has developed in the public domain. A tell-all from Zuma could quench that need for accountability in this matter.
  3. The consequences of Zuma's reshuffle had a knock-on effect on the economy and South Africa's international and investor relations. The effects are still being felt. In this context, the public deserve to know why the decision was made.

If the DA is successful, and that is a big "if", Zuma being forced to explain his actions may hold him to a higher level of accountability as 2019 approaches. This may put a restraint on further rash decisions made by him. But asking him to shed light on the true reason of the reshuffle may be asking him to explain the inexplicable.