CAPE TOWN, South Africa’s North Gauteng High Court on Friday granted President Jacob Zuma leave to appeal a judgment which ordered him to submit the record and reasons of his decision to reshuffle the cabinet in March.

Zuma’s application for leave to appeal was argued in the court before Judge Bashier Vally agreed that the president be granted leave to appeal his earlier judgment to the Supreme Court of the Appeal.

In early May, Judge Vally ruled that Zuma must provide reasons for the cabinet reshuffle and hand over cabinet reshuffle records to the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA), which approached the North Gauteng High Court, seeking a court order to compel Zuma to give reasons for the cabinet reshuffle and hand over relevant records.

The records allegedly contain intelligence Zuma used as “an excuse” to fire Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan in the cabinet reshuffle, which also saw the sacking or replacement of nine other ministers.

Zuma reportedly told the African National Congress (ANC) top leadership before the reshuffle that he had received intelligence that Gordhan was seeking foreign assistance to topple him.

Zuma later said the cabinet reshuffle was based on the intelligence.

The reshuffle prompted international rating agencies Standard & Poor’s and Fitch to downgrade South Africa’s sovereign credit to junk status, respectively on April 3 and April 7.

In his application for leave to appeal, Zuma contended that there was a reasonable prospect that another court would come to a different decision from that of the North Gauteng High Court and that the matter is one of considerable importance to the parties and the country.

In handing down the judgment on Friday, the court emphasised that the public interest in this case post issuance of the judgment has been wide, deep and intense and warranted that the issues raised by this particular matter be considered by the Supreme Court of Appeal.

The court further agreed that there is merit in the contention by Zuma that the earlier order had far-reaching implications and therefore warranted the attention of a higher court.

Zuma’s spokesperson Bongani Ngqulunga said the president welcomed the decision of the North Gauteng High Court which grants him leave to appeal.