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Why Zuma keeps mum on Gordhan roadshow recall

May 22 2017 18:34
Liesl Peyper

Cape Town – President Jacob Zuma says two pending court cases prevent him from giving reasons why he recalled former finance minister Pravin Gordhan from an international investment roadshow in March. 

Zuma was responding to a question from Democratic Alliance (DA) spokesperson on finance David Maynier, who asked Zuma to give detailed reasons for cancelling the roadshow, which was set to take place on March 27 to 31 2017. 

On March 26, Zuma unexpectedly instructed Gordhan to return from the roadshow, which necessitated the cancellation of a number of scheduled meetings with rating agencies and investors in London as part of official trips planned for the week. 

READ: Gordhan's dramatic recall 'highly embarrassing' - analysts 

The second leg of the roadshow was intended to take place in the US, and was supposed to be led by former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas. The trip, however, was subsequently cancelled before Jonas' planned departure. 

The sudden recall was a precursor to a radical Cabinet reshuffle days later, which saw the removal of both Gordhan and Jonas from their positions. 

Zuma said in response to Maynier’s question that there are “two separate court cases pending” – one in the North Gauteng High Court and one in the Constitutional Court.

READ: High Court reserves judgment in Gupta-Gordhan bank case

“The issues to be considered by the courts, among others, relate to Mr Gordhan in his capacity as the former minister of finance. It will, therefore, be inappropriate to comment on the question asked while these matters are before the courts.” 

Gordhan approached the court last year to get legal protection from intervening in the closure of the bank accounts of the Gupta family. Judgment in the case is reserved. 

Judgment is also reserved in a case before the Constitutional Court in which the United Democratic Movement filed a bid to have a vote on a motion of no confidence in Zuma held in secret. Opposition parties approached National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete to have a no confidence vote, following the sacking of Gordhan. 

READ: Secret ballot will maintain integrity of 'no confidence vote' - UDM 

In a separate matter, the DA approached the Constitutional Court to force Zuma to provide reasons for his midnight Cabinet reshuffle on March 31, which sent markets and the rand into a tailspin and led to the credit ratings downgrade by S&P Global and Fitch Ratings. 

Judge Bashier Vally ruled in May that Zuma must hand over all records explaining the reason why he reshuffled the Cabinet. Zuma subsequently filed an application for leave to appeal the decision. 

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