The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal has called for North Gauteng High Court Judge Bashier Vally’s ruling for President Jacob Zuma to provide the DA with reasons for sacking finance minister Pravin Gordhan to be reversed.
The party also wants the UDM’s application to the Constitutional Court for a secret ballot in a motion of no confidence against Zuma in Parliament be dismissed with costs.
These are some of the demands the ANC highlighted in a memorandum which was handed over to the Durban High Court after a protest march against the increasing “encroachment on political and executive matters” by the judiciary. Provincial ANC chairman Sihle Zikalala said the party was “saddened and disgusted” by Vally’s judgment in favour of the DA which wants the president’s decision to fire Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas reviewed and set aside.
“We want to make it clear that the appointment and removal of ministers is governed by the constitution and is the prerogative of the president and not the courts‚” said Zikalala.
He lambasted the courts for using their powers as if they were above Parliament and opposition parties for using the courts without using parliamentary procedures.
“There is a growing observable trend by the courts to act and play a big brother role where in some if not any cases find themselves encroaching in the terrain of other organs. We are therefore saying that courts are using their powers as if they are above parliament.”
Zikala said it has become the norm for the judiciary to meddle in political matters.
“There is an increasing tendency of courts finding themselves meddling in national critical issues and taking positions which if not stopped will undermine the judiciary system and put it in a political battleground and finally fall prey to judiciary capture.”
Zikalala warned that if the courts continued meddling in political issues they will find themselves on a “collision course” with the majority in this country.
“If the courts continue with this they will undermine the will of the majority and this will put them in a collision course with the majority. We are therefore saying Judge Vally’s judgment must be reversed and what he has said should not continue and the president’s decision must remain as it is.”
Religious leaders who were also part of the march also joined the chorus for the judiciary to steer clear of political issues and also threw their weight behind Zuma.
The judiciary has been given a 14-day ultimatum to respond to the ANC memorandum or face another mass action.
The protest march was also attended by Premier Willies Mchunu and several provincial cabinet minsters‚ including education MEC Mthandeni Dlungwane and transport‚ community safety and liaison MEC Mxolisi Kaunda‚ as well as legislature speaker Lydia Johnson.
In response‚ the South African judiciary said in a statement issued by the office of the chief justice it “reaffirms its commitment to the principles of independence‚ impartiality‚ dignity‚ accessibility and effectiveness of the courts”.
“The courts‚ as provided for in our constitution‚ exist to promote the rule of law and to uphold the supreme law of the country‚ the Constitution. The SA judiciary has been and will continue to be fearless in its approach to promote the rule of law and safeguard its independence.”
The statement said that the judiciary also reaffirms its commitment to the separation of powers through the legislature‚ executive and the courts.