The South Gauteng High Court on Friday granted president Jacob Zuma a leave to appeal against the ruling that he must furnish the records which he relied on when he reshuffled his cabinet in March.
Even though the ruling was in Zuma’s favour, Judge Bashir Vally remained sceptical and said there are no reasonable prospects that another court would come to a different conclusion. However, he conceded that there might compelling reasons to appeal.
“The president’s contention is not without merit. The president contends further that the order fundamentally impacts on the manner in which the office of the Presidency operates. The DA was not able to dispel or discredit these claims. In these circumstances this matter should be brought to the attention of a higher court.”
Last month, the Democratic Alliance approached the court to compel Zuma to hand over all records which supported his reasons for sacking former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas during a midnight reshuffle in March.
In his first ruling, Vally ordered Zuma to provide all documents and electronic records including correspondence, reports, contracts, memoranda, evaluations, advice received and recommendations that related to his decision.
Zuma has continuously maintained that he is empowered through the constitution to hire and fire members of his cabinet and that the decision to axe Gordhan and Jonas was an executive one.
Earlier, advocate Ishaemal Semenya for Zuma argued that the court erred in its decision, and that rule 53 of the Uniform Rules of the Court which was used to argue for the records to be released did not apply to him.
“The High Court ought to have found that nothing in the language of rule 53 suggests that executive decisions should be included in its
Semenya said Vally’s order would lead to the violation of the separation of powers which are enshrined in the Constitution.
“The High Court erred in finding that rule 53 must be read to include executive executive decisions, even though nothing in the language of rule 53 suggests that it should be interpreted to include executive decisions. Such an approach violates the separation of powers,” he said.
Advocate Steven Budlender for the DA had argued that there was no compelling reasons to grant the leave to appeal.
He said the court should grant leave to appeal only when there’s compelling reasons and believed Zuma’s application hadn’t advanced these reasons.
Zuma may now approach the Supreme Court of Appeal.
– African News Agency (ANA)