10/05/2017 13:28 SAST | Updated 10/05/2017 13:28 SAST

Helen Suzman Foundation Asks The Constitutional Court To Set Aside Zuma's Axing Of Gordhan And Jonas

The National Assembly failed in its duty to oversee organs of state and hold them accountable.

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South Africa's sacked finance minister Pravin Gordhan looks on during the memorial for anti-apartheid stalwart Ahmed Kathrada in Durban on April 9, 2017.
The Constitutional Court has been asked to set aside President Jacob Zuma's axing of Pravin Gordhan as finance minister and his deputy, Mcebisi Jonas.

The Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF) and My Vote Counts NPC (MVC) brought the application, asking the court to:

  • Declare that Zuma and the National Assembly violated their constitutional duties; and
  • Direct the National Assembly speaker to institute an investigation into Zuma's conduct, with a view to possible removal proceedings against him, in terms of section 89 of the Constitution.

"The HSF and MVC say that if one has regard to the debacle surrounding the dismissal of Minister Nhlanhla Nene in December 2015, to the Nkandla scandal and to the latest cabinet reshuffle, the President has established a pattern of conduct," said HSF director Francis Antonie.

Antonie said Zuma's conduct was irrational and unlawful, and without proper regard for the Constitution. He added that the National Assembly and Speaker Baleka Mbete have failed to act against Zuma's conduct.

The National Assembly failed in its duty to oversee organs of state and hold them accountable.

Antonie said it was concerned about the longer-term damage to the economy as a result of the two ratings agency downgrades following Zuma's March 30 cabinet reshuffle.

They would make it more expensive for government to borrow money.

"This will put pressure on state spending on education and training, human settlements, health and social protection, which already make up 56% of total government expenditure.

"Inevitably, a general dampening of business confidence and a negative effect on investment decisions will in time lead to lower economic growth and fewer new jobs being created,'' said Antonie.