Clever legal manipulation is not leadership, Zuma

He has learnt a trick or two from the litigious official opposition.


How does this country’s president manage to absent himself on business elsewhere when chaos is rapidly becoming the order of the day, and in what regard does he hold the findings of the South African courts?

Could these, we have to ask, be connected?

President Jacob Zuma, increasingly under fire from what looks like all sides as he tenaciously clings to power, is on a state visit to Tanzania while facing a court order by Judge Bashir Vally to hand over a contentious “intelligence report” used as the basis for summarily sacking finance minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas by the end of business yesterday.

The original papers filed before the high court by the DA asked that the contents of the report – what Gordhan contemptuously referred to as an “unintelligent report” – be made public. Judge Vally agreed.

But Zuma has learned a trick or two from the litigious official opposition, and filed his own court papers, asking the DA to provide a copy of the so-called intelligence report linked to the axing of Gordhan and Jonas.

“The high court ought to have found that the executive decision in question is the exercise of a constitutional power, and is a decision of the nature that does not call for the production of the record and reasons,” the presidency said in a statement.

“The presidency further contends that there is a reasonable prospect that another court will come to a different decision from that of the high court.”

It all adds up to obfuscation at a legal level, which patently serves as a sophisticated delaying tactic and adds up to a clogging of the court process and, one could argue, the abdication of the art of government the president is mandated to maintain.

And engenders the feeling that we are being manipulated rather than governed.

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