The Democratic Alliance (DA) on Tuesday filed an urgent application with the Pretoria High Court to compel President Jacob Zuma to reveal his reasons for last month’s sweeping Cabinet reshuffle.
The head of the party’s federal executive, James Selfe, said the application went hand in hand with the DA’s earlier application to review the rationality of the decision to remove Pravin Gordhan and Mcebisi Jonas from their posts as finance minister and deputy finance minister respectively in the March 31 reshuffle.
“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,” Selfe said.
Selfe said in its founding papers for the second application, the party asked that the court orders Zuma to provide a written record of his reasons for the reshuffle.
He said Zuma had been disingenuous in maintaining that he was not obliged to disclose his thinking as he had been exercising his executive power.
The exercise of public power must be subject to the principles of legality and rationality, he argued.
“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.”