Democratic Alliance Mmusi Maimane is stopping at nothing to secure justice for the entire South African citizenry. “This latest urgent application is necessary to force the President to disclose the reasons for and the record of his decision to reshuffle his cabinet so that our earlier application to review the rationality of his decision can proceed‚” said DA federal executive chairperson James Selfe.
“In our founding papers for this urgent application to compel‚ the DA requests the court to order President Zuma to provide a written record of decision and reasons for the reshuffle‚ yet disingenuously the President’s reply to our papers claims that South Africa is not entitled to know why he acted as he did because he was exercising his executive power‚” Selfe added.
Selfe noted that in a letter from the State Attorney‚ he stated that “the decision to reshuffle cabinet as he did was informed by his political judgement that the reshuffle will best deliver on the mandate of the African National Congress”. However‚
Selfe says this does not in any way justify the President’s decision being beyond scrutiny.
“Every exercise of public power must be subject to the principles of legality and rationality‚ especially the exercise of all of the President’s powers‚ which include decisions to appoint or dismiss Ministers and Deputy Ministers. It has also been established in law that all constitutional powers are subject to constitutional constraints. In particular‚ it is a requirement of our law that a decision must be rationally related to the purpose for which the power was conferred.
“It follows that the President’s decisions to dismiss Ministers or Deputy Ministers must pass the standards of rationality. In the absence of a rational explanation‚ the President’s decision to reshuffle his cabinet would be unlawful‚” Selfe stated.
The DA believed the President made the decision‚ especially the axing of Gordhan and Jonas‚ based on political considerations to put himself above the people of South Africa‚ which made it all the more important that he provide an explanation.
“The effect of his decision on South Africa is plain for all to see and led directly to two international rating agencies downgrading our country to junk status. Our currency also went into free-fall and will‚ in all likelihood‚ lead to job losses which we can ill-afford given that a staggering 8.9 million South Africans cannot find work.
“President Zuma ought to have known that this would likely be the result of his rash action in firing Gordhan and Jonas‚ since the decision to drop Nhlanhla Nene from the finance ministry in 2015 had similar consequences for the economy‚” Selfe asserted.
He added that it was well-known that for some time Zuma had been trying to have more direct control over the National Treasury‚ “so as to advance his insiders‚ and the reshuffle needs to be seen in that light‚ and that is why it is of paramount importance that the public know the real reasons why Pravin Gordhan and Mcebisi Jonas were replaced”.
“Given the DA assertion that the President’s cabinet reshuffle decision is reviewable under the principle of rationality‚ it follows that in order to determine whether the decision was rational or not‚ the President must make available the record and reasons for the decision.
“We‚ therefore‚ argue that the President is required by law to furnish the DA‚ and the people of South Africa‚ with the record and the reasons.