Judge Bashier Vally has ruled that President Jacob Zuma must hand over all records explaining the reason why he reshuffled the Cabinet. Zuma must also hand over "record of all documents and electronic records, including correspondence, contracts, memoranda, advices, recommendations, evaluations and reports that related to the making of the decision".
A South African High Court today ordered President Jacob Zuma to reveal the documents he used to justify the controversial sacking of a widely respected finance minister, sparking economic turmoil.
The opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) had filed the court application to compel Zuma to give his reasons for the reshuffle, which triggered large street protests against the president and led to more calls for his resignation.
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"This judgment signifies unfettered encroachment of the judiciary into the realm of the executive - pandering to the whims of the opposition who want to co-govern with the popularly elected government through the courts", ANC national spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said in a statement on Friday.
Kodwa added the "Constitution confers upon the President powers to constitute his Cabinet without imposing an obligation upon him to consult opposition parties in the exercise of this discretionary function".
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.
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The president's reshuffle prompted two ratings agencies to downgrade the country's investment status to junk, and the DA believes this shows his actions were irrational and harmful to ordinary South Africans.
Zuma later said the cabinet reshuffle was based on the intelligence.
It was not immediately clear if Zuma would appeal Thursday's ruling. It's a legitimate legal process and I'm sure there are going to be further steps in the process, so let's wait and see", he said on the sidelines of the opening of an exhibition titled "Promises and Lies: "The ANC, Exile and the Project of Freedom".
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