South Africa 11.5.2017 10:16 am

Parliament should deal with Zuma’s Cabinet reshuffle, not courts – Mkhize

African National Congress (ANC) treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize during an interview on April 21, 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Picture: Gallo Images

African National Congress (ANC) treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize during an interview on April 21, 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Picture: Gallo Images

The ANC top-six member says the legislature, and not the judiciary, should have held the president accountable for the reshuffle.

ANC treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize says President Jacob Zuma’s reasons for reshuffling his Cabinet should have been questioned in parliament and not in the courts.

In an interview with News24 on Wednesday, Mkhize said he agreed with the ruling party’s stance that the decision by Judge Bashier Vally, ordering Zuma to provide the DA with records and reasons for reshuffling his Cabinet on March 30, amounted to “judicial overreach”.

In providing his reasons for the landmark ruling on Tuesday, Vally said rule 53 of the uniform rules of the court could also be applied to legal challenges to review and set aside an executive order or decision made by the president.

Mkhize had a different view, telling the news website political appointees such as Cabinet ministers were not governed by the Public Service or Labour Act like other civil servants.

“We find this one to be quite uncomfortable because it strays into an area where it’s more political decision making by the executive as opposed to what could have been … administrative, so the question of judicial overreach arises in that kind of context,” he said.

The ANC treasurer-general said MPs should have used the national legislature to hold the president accountable for reshuffling his executive team.

“If people were asking him in parliament, I think that would have been appropriate. If people asked him why did you appoint this person and not this person and raising it in Parliament, it would have been fair and that is the platform where he is supposed to account as the president appointed by that particular parliament,” Mkhize said.

The ANC had urged Zuma to appeal the judgement handed by Judge Vally last week Thursday. The party believes that the decision could create a precedent for other future decisions taken by the president based on his constitutional prerogative to fire and appoint ministers to serve in government.

In a twist to the ongoing story, on Wednesday, Zuma’s lawyers requested the DA to hand over the so-called intelligence report he allegedly used to fire Pravin Gordhan and Mcebisi Jonas from the finance ministry.

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