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The Jesuit Institute South Africa has noted the President’s decision to reshuffle his cabinet. While we recognise that this is the President’s constitutional prerogative, we must nonetheless note our concern at the reshuffle and the manner in which it was done.
While we recognise that the Constitution grants the President tremendous power, we are compelled to emphasise that the Rule of Law dictates that such power must be exercised rationally and for legitimate purposes. At present the reasons put forward by the Presidency do not point convincingly to this being the case.
We are very concerned by the comments made by the African National Congress’s General Secretary: that there was a lack of transparent consultation leading up to the President’s decision. Such opacity must necessarily call into question the personalities, motives and goals of the reshuffle.
The capricious way the reshuffle has been handled has already impacted negatively on the value of our currency and the country’s economy. This impact is likely to be felt widely, but most severely by the poor. Herein lies our greatest concern.
We hope that the events of 31 March 2017 do not undermine the stability offered by Mr. Gordhan’s tenure as Finance Minister. We hope that his successor will continue to display the kind of honesty, integrity and fiscal prudence that marked Mr Gordhan’s time as head of the Treasury. The Treasury belongs to the people of the country and is not a feeding trough for a select few.
We urge all the President’s new appointees to carry out their duties with honesty and prudence.
We encourage forthright engagement by all sectors of society on the events of the last few hours. Make your voices and concerns heard in legitimate ways.
It is now up to Parliament, as the elected representatives of all South Africans to reflect on whether the course chosen by the President is in our national interest. We urge Parliament to act with integrity as they deliberate the future.
In the days ahead we are sure to see the full social, economic and political impact of the President’s concerning decision. We appeal to all South Africans to join together in charting a path towards a peaceful and decisive resolution to this crisis for the common good of South Africa.
The interests of our nation must be put before any other consideration at this time.
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