Malusi Gigaba, Bathabile Dlamini must go - Maimane
THE DA has kept its promise to take President Cyril Ramaphosa to court after he failed to heed its ultimatum to fire ministers Malusi Gigaba and Bathabile Dlamini from the Cabinet.
Yesterday, the party said it had launched an application in the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, to review and set aside Ramaphosa’s decision to retain Dlamini and Gigaba as ministers.
The matter will be heard in March next year..
The official opposition also wants Ramaphosa, Dlamini and Gigaba, who are cited as respondents, to pay legal costs from their own pockets if they oppose the application.
This takes place as Gigaba took another pummelling after reports surfaced that a report into Eskom from the parliamentary inquiry by the public enterprises portfolio committee had implicated him and former public enterprises minister Lynne Brown over alleged mismanagement and corruption at the utility.
Briefing the media in Parliament yesterday, DA leader Mmusi Maimane said the DA held the view that anyone who served the country in high office should be above reproach and be a servant of the people.
Maimane charged that while Ramaphosa exercised his executive power when he reappointed Gigaba and Dlamini, the decision “is subject to certain basic tenets of the law”.
He said the pair had been found to have lied under oath in court cases relating to government work.
“We are of the view that the decision by the president to reappoint these two ministers in February this year fails the legal test of rationality, and as such we are seeking an order declaring the president’s decisions to retain both Dlamini and Gigaba in his Cabinet to be unlawful, unconstitutional and invalid,” Maimane said.
Constitutional expert Shadrack Gutto said there was no law that could force the president to dismiss a person or body he had appointed.
Gutto said the president could act otherwise due to pressure brought about by civil society.
“It is up to the president to decide whether or not to remove a minister from office.
“He has a right to appoint and discharge. It is not a question of law, but a question of politics,” Gutto added.
But the DA federal chairperson James Selfe said in a founding affidavit that the conclusions of impropriety, dishonesty and a lack of good faith in Dlamini and Gigaba were inescapable.
Selfe stated that their application raised a constitutional matter within the court’s power.
“For a court to shy away from this duty, there must be a sound jurisprudential basis.
“The DA submits respectfully that no such basis exists in the matter, it is therefore only proper that a declaratory order be made,” Selfe said.
Maimane said although March 11, 2019, was a long time away to hear the application, he hoped Ramaphosa would do the right thing and fire Gigaba. “In this case against Gigaba we are of the view that he is severely compromised.”
He also said if Gigaba or Dlamini opposed the application, they were to pay from their own pockets.
“As people of this country we should not be financing the costs of erring ministers who go to courts to clear their names,” the DA leader said.
He said they had laid criminal charges against Gigaba for committing perjury after the Constitutional court found he “deliberately told untruths” in the matter involving Oppenheimer’s Fireblade Aviation.
“We ask President Ramaphosa to publicly support these charges.”
He also said that instead of disciplinary action as Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane had recommended, Gigaba should be fired.
“To say he must be reprimanded would be wrong.”
On Dlamini, whom the court found had “misled the court to protect herself from the consequences of her behaviour”, Maimane said it was also wrong to keep her in office.
“The ANC is united by smallnyana skeletons. It is these skeletons President Ramaphosa does not want to come out. If he wants to stick true to the new era in South Africa it is better that these ministers are fired and the principle of rule of law is brought back.”