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Ramaphosa says he respects ruling on providing reasons for Cabinet changes

President Cyril Ramaphosa said that he noted and respected the Constitutional Court judgment dismissing his application for leave to appeal a court order that his office give reasons for firing ministers.

FILE: President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: @PresidencyZA/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - President Cyril Ramaphosa said that he noted and respected the Constitutional Court judgment dismissing his application for leave to appeal a court order that his office give reasons for firing ministers.

The ruling meant that if the president fired a minister or his deputy in future he could be asked to provide reasons for why he made such a decision.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) won a court case forcing former President Jacob Zuma to reveal why he reshuffled his Cabinet, which saw the axing of several ministers, including then-Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas.

That decision rattled the markers and led to ratings agencies downgrading the country to junk status.

While there had been warnings that the Constitutional Court ruling may have huge ramifications for heads of state, some constitutional law experts believed that the ruling would strengthen governance as presidents would be pressured to ensure that Cabinet changes they made passed the test of rationality and legality.

Presidency spokesperson Khusela Diko said that Ramaphosa respected the judgment.

She said that if the president was asked to provide reasons for his future decisions on Cabinet changes, he would deal with that as and when it happened.

"It would then be open to him to confront that challenge. This is a matter that the Presidency will continue to pursue if and when it should arise in the future."

Meanwhile, the DA welcomed the judgment, saying it would ensure the exercise of public power by heads of state would be rational and legal.

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