DA application to declare ANC’s cadre deployment unlawful, unconstitutional dismissed

The High Court in Pretoria on Wednesday, dismissed the DA’s application to declare ANC’s cadre deployment unlawful and unconstitutional. File picture: Oupa Mokoena / Independent Newspapers

The High Court in Pretoria on Wednesday, dismissed the DA’s application to declare ANC’s cadre deployment unlawful and unconstitutional. File picture: Oupa Mokoena / Independent Newspapers

Published Feb 21, 2024


The High Court in Pretoria on Wednesday, dismissed the Democratic Alliance’s (DA’s) application to declare the African National Congress(ANC’s) cadre deployment as unlawful and unconstitutional.

Judge Aubrey Ledwaba handed down a brief judgment and dismissed the application with costs.

This judgment comes exactly two days after the ruling party released its cadre deployment records to the official opposition party.

The DA wanted to the court to rule out the cadre policy, arguing that it led to state capture, systemic corruption and directly affected service delivery.

Reacting to the judgment, DA leader John Steenhuisen expressed sadness over ruling and said the court missed out on ensuring the constitution provisions were not violated.

He said the fight against cadre deployment was a fight against corruption.

“Cadre deployment is not a victimless crime. Every time the lights go off and a factory is shut down, is a result of this evil system,” he said outside the court after the ruling.

Steenhuisen urged South Africans to vote out the ANC on May 29 to ensure that the cadre deployment policy was abandoned.

“The silver bullet to end cadre deployment once and for all is months away. We don’t need to wait for long process and appeals. We can end it with a silver bullet on May 29,” Steenhuisen said.

However, he said they will fight the judgment throughout to end ensure this was put to an end.

“Should the DA be in a position to be in national government, we will in the first 100 days table in Parliament the cadre deployment bill which will end the this practise once and for all for all political parties in South Africa,” he said.

He said this would ensure that people were appointed on merit and ability to do their and not on their colour or style of the membership card of the party they belonged to.

Furthermore, ANC’s secretary-general Fikile Mbalula, welcomed the court's ruling and said this was a win for political party autonomy and would ensure that public institutions were packed with relevant people.

“The Pretoria High Court's ruling on ANC cadre deployment is a win for political party autonomy and ensures that public institutions are staffed by those who align with the ruling party's policies and goals,” he said on X.

On Monday, the DA confirmed that it received cadre deployment records from the ANC following the Constitutional Court deadline.

The DA threatened to take legal action if the ANC failed to meet the 5pm deadline, however, ANC national spokesperson Mahlengi Bhengu-Motsiri said they handed over the records to the DA by the close of business.

“In pursuit of a united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous society, the ANC will continue implementing its cadre development policy and deployment strategy to ensure that individuals with impressive qualifications, experience and credentials are deployed to build a better life for all South Africans,” Bhengu-Motsiri said at the time.

Before handing over the records, the ANC said not all the records of the cadre deployment committee were found. It said said this was even communicated to the Zondo Commission as far back as 2021 that it could not find minutes of the cadre deployment committee between 2012 and 2017.

At the time, the DA said it was going to study all the records to establish if the ANC complied with the order of the Constitutional Court in full to give the DA records dating back from January 1, 2013 when President Cyril Ramaphosa chaired the cadre deployment committee during his time as party and state deputy president.

The ANC had warned the DA earlier not to breach the Protection of Person Information Act (Popia) when it gets the records.

The ANC said earlier that the DA was also practising cadre deployment where it governs.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has done a study on this and found that even countries in the Global North practice cadre deployment.

This was not only done in South Africa. In democracies governing parties want to deploy their own people to ensure the implementation of their policies and programmes.

The Constitutional Court delivered its judgment on February 12, where it gave the ANC five working days to give the DA cadre deployment records.

Ramaphosa started chairing the deployment committee after his election at the Mangaung conference 2012 as deputy president.

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