South Africa's ANC accuses judiciary of pandering to opposition

Rachel Adams, one of the seven new MPs sworn in by speaker of the National

The high court in Pretoria on Thursday gave President Jacob Zuma one week to say why he fired his finance and deputy finance minsters in late March - and so gave Zuma an unenviable choice: admit he used an irregular (and possibly illegal) "intelligence report" in making that decision, or admit he lied to alliance partners about his reasons.

The opposition and even some members within Zuma's cabinet, including Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, said at the time that Zuma removed Gordhan on the basis of a "spurious" intelligence report.

Judge Vally also ordered that Zuma pay the DA's legal costs.

The High Court Judge Bashier Vally said he would deliberate on the ruling next Tuesday. "The timing of the announcement of the reshuffle, in the middle of the night, also serves to highlight the real motives and intent by the President Zuma".

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Zuma, who came to power in 2009, has been accused of corruption but survived several no-confidence votes in parliament thanks to his African National Congress (ANC) majority in the National Assembly.

Zuma argued he was exercising his powers in terms of section 91 (2) of the Constitution and that he took an executive decision that deserved protection from disclosure.

Kodwa's statement was much stronger than comments he made immediately after the ruling on Thursday.

But the courts would not be able to properly consider an upcoming application by the DA to review the firings without records, the party's advocate Steven Budlender said, relying heavily on the precedent set in the spy tapes matter.

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This was demonstrated by ratings agency S&P Global and Fitch downgrading of SA to junk status.

Mr Zuma has not mentioned the report publicly, but rather said his reshuffle was about promoting a younger generation of leaders.

Selfe said they were now a step closer to reviewing the reasons for the sacking of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan. "We can not allow Zuma to further abuse taxpayers' money", Bloem said.

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