The Democratic Alliance’s urgent bid to force President Jacob Zuma to provide them with the documents and reasons for his decision to fire former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas will only be heard on Thursday.
Judge Bashier Vally on Tuesday indicated in the High Court in Pretoria that he will hear the application on Thursday and will give his ruling before the end of the week.
The DA wants the court to force the President to provide all documents, electronic records, correspondence and advice relating to his decision and to provide reasons for firing Gordhan and Jonas.
The party maintains it needs the information to prepare for its main application in which it seeks to overturn President Jacob Zuma’s decision to fire Gordhan and Jonas and to replace them with Malusi Gigaba and Sfiso Buthelezi.
No date has yet been set for the application.
The DA’s attorney, Elsabe Jonker, said in an affidavit the decision to fire the country’s two top financial officers was of an extraordinarily serious and far-reaching nature, especially in the face of the economic challenges facing South Africa and its attempts to maintain economic credibility and investment not grade credit ratings.
She said the key question in the main application was if and to what extent the President had relied on a so-called “intelligence report” in dismissing the two, which would only become clear once the record and reasons had been furnished.
The report accused Gordhan and Jonas of plotting against President Zuma. The pair were ousted in the President’s dramatic March 31 midnight Cabinet reshuffle shortly after they were recalled from an international investor roadshow in London.
The DA has blamed President Zuma’s decision to get rid of Gordhan and Jonas for South Africa’s credit rating being downgraded to junk status by ratings agencies S & P Global and Fitch.
The DA said in court papers Pres Zuma “failed to appreciate the urgency and continued social and political harm” resulting from his Cabinet reshuffle.
State attorney Isaac Chowe said in an affidavit the decision was an executive one and the DA was not entitled to an explanation or the paperwork.
He said in a letter, attached to court papers, the decision had been informed by the president’s “political judgment that the move will best deliver on the mandate of the ANC [as] received from the majority of the electorate in the last general elections”.