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Ramaphosa vs Mkhwebane in six quotes: Legal teams trade blows in court

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The legal showdown between Busisiwe Mkhwebane and Cyril Ramaphosa finally got underway in court on Thursday. The Public Protector is facing a battle to restore her credibility, and the president looks to go for the jugular in a fight to clear his name – and Pravin Gordhan’s, too.

The president completely disagrees with Mkhwebane’s methodology, her findings and even her parallel investigation into his campaign funding. Day one was a war of attrition, as all sides – including the EFF’s lawyers – weighed in with their opinions.

The case is centred on whether Ramaphosa must be forced to take action against the Public Enterprises Minister after he was stung by Mkhwebane’s report into Ivan Pillay’s early pension payout from SARS.

She’s accused PG of flouting the law and acting “with no regard” for due process and demanded discipline from Cyril. However, the head of state isn’t budging. Here are the quotes which sum up the day:

Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s lawyers make their case:

It’s Gordhan vs Democracy

“So the entire country must be paralysed, the office of the Public Protector must be killed and blunted, and everything we stand for in this democracy must be undermined for the convenience of Mr Gordhan? This one man?”

A “bloodbath” awaits

“The whole country must be held at ransom for four to five years, until Mr Gordhan and Mr Ramaphosa are out of office to do a simple disciplinary procedure… if that is the kind of degeneration of justice and abuse of power that we’re tolerating, then nothing will stop a bloodbath of our democracy.”

The way it should have worked…

“Until a court order has been obtained to say otherwise, remedial action must be implemented. Ramaphosa should have planned for this, against Gordhan and subject to the approval of Busisiwe Mkhwebane. That’s how ti should work.”

Cyril Ramaphosa’s team deliver their arguments:

An attack on Mkhwebane’s credibility

“The public protector misunderstood the flow of the funds, miscalculated the amounts paid, double-counted the same amounts in certain instances, referred to incorrect time periods and misunderstood the relationships between the various entities.”

Why she’s wrong to pursue his campaign donations

“Those donations do not implicate the state, public administration or public affairs in any manner whatsoever. The relationship between the party and its members is private and contractual. I never benefited financially. In fact, I donated significant amounts to the campaign personally.”

Public Protector “acts above the law”

“All these emotive arguments from the Public Protector are endorsed by the EFF, and they show one common mistake. Their arguments insinuate that Busisiwe Mkhwebane cannot be subjected to any legal scrutiny – it’s as though the Public Protector is above the courts.”

(Source: The South African)

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