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DA loses court bid to have cadre deployment declared unlawful  


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DA loses court bid to have cadre deployment declared unlawful  

Image of John Steenhuisen
DA leader John Steenhuisen

21st February 2024

By: Thabi Shomolekae
Creamer Media Senior Writer


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The Democratic Alliance (DA) said it was disappointed in the judgment handed down in the Gauteng High Court dismissing its bid to have cadre deployment declared unconstitutional.

The party has instructed its legal team to appeal the ruling as a matter of urgency.


The High Court delivered its judgment on Wednesday in the DA’s long-standing battle to have the African National Congress’ (ANC’s) policy of cadre deployment declared unconstitutional and unlawful, and dismissed the DA’s legal bid with costs.

DA leader John Steenhuisen said that while the party respected the judgment, it believed that a number of errors in law and in interpretation had been made.


He said there was significant underestimation of the “scourge” of cadre deployment and its terrible effects on South Africans and the circumstances in which many of the country’s citizens found themselves.

“…But we will appeal it to the SCA [Supreme Court of Appeal] and potentially direct it to the Constitutional Court. We believe that there can be no greater constitutional imperative than to deal with this particular matter and its effects on South Africa,” Steenhuisen said.

He noted that if cadre deployment was continued and supported in its current form, it would continue to undermine the State and continue to cause great harm to South Africans and their prospects for the future.

He also quoted Chief Justice Raymond Zondo’s comments made at the Zondo Commission, in which he said that it should be illegal for anybody to influence the appointment of people based on nothing other than a party affiliation.

The DA maintains that the practice of cadre deployment is a violation of constitutional provisions.

“And we believe the judgment has missed out on this significantly,” he said.

Meanwhile, the DA, in the related matter of the ANC being ordered by the courts to furnish the DA with the records of the ANC's cadre deployment committee, has uploaded the cadre deployment minutes and documents which have so far been supplied to the party’s website, allowing the public access to the information.

Steenhuisen highlighted that the cadre deployment minutes influenced judicial appointments and various other key appointments across the State. He said this was a clear violation of the principle of the separation of powers, and added that the DA believed that the court, in this latest verdict, had not taken the “terrible effect” of cadre deployment into account.

“The ANC's deployment committee interfered in appointments across the State, and even extended its tentacles in the judiciary. There can be no more urgent constitutional matter than challenging a governing party that, by its own admission, has obliterated the distinction between party and State in order to capture institutions for its own advantage,” said DA Shadow Minister of Public Service and Administration Dr Leon Schreiber.

He added that all this had been underscored by the ANC's own records.

Meanwhile, ANC secretary general Fikile Mbalula said the court’s ruling on the party’s cadre deployment policy was a win for political party autonomy and ensured that public institutions were staffed by those who aligned with the ANC’s policies and goals.

Mbalula said the ANC’s focus was now on its manifesto launch and that the party would continue encouraging more South Africans to register to vote, as it worked towards a decisive victory in the May 29 elections.


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