ED files for condonation delay in RTGS case

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President Emmerson Mnangagwa

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has approached the High Court seeking condonation for the late filing of his heads of arguments in a matter in which Free Zimbabwe Congress leader Joseph Busha challenged the introduction of the Real Time Gross Settlement dollar (RTGS$).

BY CHARLES LAITON

In his application in June last year, Busha argued that Statutory Instrument (SI) 33 of 2019 which Mnangagwa used in ushering in the currency reforms was unconstitutional and inconsistent with the Constitution.

The RTGS$ was introduced in February last year through the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) Act.

However, when Busha served his heads of argument to Mnangagwa through the Office of the Attorney-General (AG), the court papers did not reach him in time to enable him to also file his heads of argument within the stipulated time.

Through the AG’s Office, Mnangagwa said he wished to have the matter finalised, hence he had approached the court for condonation.

He said Busha’s application had since been overtaken by events since SI 33 of 2019 had since been incorporated into the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Act.

“I submit that the applicant (President Mnangagwa) has a very good defence to the application and he will in all probability succeed in it,” AG’s representative Venrandah Munyoro said in her founding affidavit.

“In particular, I note that Statutory Instrument 33 of 2019 has since been incorporated into the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Act.

“It also remains the applicant’s argument that the promulgation of the statutory instrument through the Presidential Powers was not unconstitutional as the Act is not in violation of the principle of legality or separation of powers.

“On the above basis alone, the applicant has good prospects of success on the merits … the heads of argument were delayed by a month but that was because there had been no proper service on the applicant.”

The Free Zimbabwe Congress leader’s application came when government had also introduced SI 142 of 2019, which banned the use of all foreign currencies for domestic transactions.

The SI made the RTGS$ and bond notes the only legal tender in the country.

Busha’s argument is that the powers of the President were set out in section 110 of the Constitution and that none of those powers entitle him to legislate.

He further said the Act could not validly expand the powers of the President beyond what the Constitution confines them to.

The matter is pending.