South Africa's ANC accuses judiciary of pandering to opposition

06 May, 2017, 02:56 | Author: Elaine Woods
  • Rogan Ward  Reuters                       South African President Jacob Zuma

He told News24 he had not read about Judge Bashier Vally's ruling earlier that Zuma must hand over all the documents he used to justify changing his Cabinet on March 30.

Mr Zuma has refused to give the DA his reasons officially, saying he legally does not have to because, as president, it is his prerogative to hire and fire members of his cabinet.

A high court in South Africa has ordered President Jacob Zuma to explain why he fired his finance minister and deputy, leading to market losses worth millions.

This ruling was as a result of a legal action filed in April by the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) party against the reshuffle that saw five ministers lose their jobs including former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.

The party said Zuma "ought to have rationally foreseen the consequences of this reshuffle" including the credit downgrade of the country by ratings agencies.

In its Friday statement, the ANC said the Constitution confers upon the President powers to constitute his cabinet without imposing an obligation upon him to consult opposition parties.

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It also triggered unprecedented criticism from within the ruling African National Congress top brass and its allies and spawned massive public protests for Zuma's ouster.

He added that it was in exercise of his powers per the constitution that deserved protection.

Zuma's spokesperson Bongani Ngqulunga said the president would not comment on matters before the courts.

But the courts would not be able to properly consider an upcoming application by the DA to review the firings without records, the party's advocate Steven Budlender said, relying heavily on the precedent set in the spy tapes matter.

"I reshuffled my Cabinet recently and I put a lot of young people in my Cabinet", Zuma said in his response.

The reshuffle prompted worldwide rating agencies Standard & Poor's and Fitch to downgrade South Africa's sovereign credit to junk status in April.

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