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Zuma welcomes court’s decision to appeal ruling over cabinet reshuffle records

Initially, the court ordered Zuma to hand over all records, including the so-called Intelligence Report which was said he had relied on in firing Gordhan.

FILE: President Jacob Zuma in the National Assembly on 1 June 2017. Picture: GCIS

JOHANNESBURG – President Jacob Zuma has welcomed the decision of the North Gauteng High Court to grant him leave to appeal its judgment ordering him to submit the record and reasons of for his latest cabinet reshuffle.

On Friday, the high court in Johannesburg granted the president leave to appeal against the ruling which ordered him to hand over documents and reasons for his recent reshuffle.

President Zuma says he believes another court will come to a different decision from that of the high court

The Democratic Alliance (DA) filed an urgent application to request that Zuma’s decision to remove Pravin Gordhan as finance minister be set aside, on the grounds that it was irrational and unconstitutional.

Initially, the court ordered Zuma to hand over all records, including the so-called Intelligence Report which was said he had relied on in firing Gordhan.

Judge Bashir Vally says he doesn't believe there's any reasonable prospect that an appeal will be successful - based on the merits of the president's case - but due to the public interest, there may be other compelling reasons.

Vally says this case should be brought to the attention of a higher court.

However, based on the public interest in the matter and considering that his ruling has implications beyond this case, he has granted Zuma leave to appeal.

Now that they have the go ahead, Zuma’s lawyers can approach the Supreme Court of Appeal to argue why he shouldn't hand over any documents - which he may have relied on when making his decision to fire several ministers during his recent Cabinet reshuffle.

Earlier, Ishmael Semenya who represents Zuma argued that the judge amended a rule of the court and that never before has there been an order to hand over the record of an executive decision - and he's warned this precedent-setting judgment could affect future cases.

Vally says he doesn’t believe that another court will come to a different conclusion but has stated that this could impact on the manner in which the Presidency operates.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)

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