On Wednesday, the president filed a court application to “frustrate the course of justice” aimed at reviewing the controversial cabinet reshuffle carried out in the dead of night recently.
Zuma, who was on a state visit to Tanzania, was appealing against Judge Bashir Vally’s order that he should deliver the record of decision for the reshuffle by close of business on Wednesday.
He also filed a notice in terms of Rule 35 (12), which The Star has seen, requesting the DA to provide him with the intelligence report within five working days.
However, constitutional law expert and political analyst Professor Shadrack Gutto said on Wednesday that Zuma had a responsibility to abide by Judge Vally’s court order.
“The president did make statements about reasons why he had removed or rather reshuffled the cabinet. He made allegations that there was a report that indicated that the then (finance) minister went abroad to mobilise the markets against the country, thus undermining the security of the country. He has to present that evidence to the court.
“He is the one who said there was an intelligence report. No one else. He has to produce that report to the court. That’s what the court is asking for. It’s actually the president that has to produce that report,” he said.
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa had said he objected to Gordhan’s axing because “he was being removed based on an intelligence report that I believe had unsubstantiated allegations about the minister of finance and his deputy going to London to mobilise financial markets against our country”.
Gordhan himself lashed out at the intelligence report and dismissed it as a “very unintelligent report”.
Other leaders who opposed and spoke out against Zuma’s cabinet reshuffle included ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe and treasurer Dr Zweli Mkhize.
Mantashe said the report had “complicated matters” on the question of the reshuffle.
ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said: “We can’t comment on matters that are before the courts.”
DA federal executive chairperson James Selfe said they regarded Zuma’s appeal as “completely absurd and bizarre” and a way of frustrating the course of justice.
“At the time of Mr Gordhan’s firing, several high-ranking ANC leaders, such as the deputy president and Speaker (Baleka Mbete), used the intelligence report as the basis for Mr Zuma having discharged Mr Gordhan. If anybody has to produce a report, it’s the president himself,” he said.
Selfe added that the DA regarded the matter as a delaying tactic, reminiscent of the drawn-out spy tapes saga.
“We have nothing to hand over. This is just a nice little diversion so he (Zuma) can avoid handing over the papers by saying there is outstanding litigation. I have no doubt that he will duck and dive as is normally the case,” added Selfe.
Zuma’s spokesperson Bongani Ngqulunga could not comment as he was in Tanzania with the president.
Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa refused to comment.