Mkhwebane accuses Ramaphosa of agreeing with Gordhan's 'insults'

Busisiwe Mkhwebane

Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane, through her lawyer Dali Mpofu, has accused President Cyril Ramaphosa of aligning himself with "vitriolic gratuitous insults" on the public protector.

Mkhwebane and Ramaphosa are locking horns in court on Thursday as the president seeks an urgent interdict to suspend the public protector's remedial actions against public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan.

Mpofu argued that Ramaphosa had a constitutional duty and responsibility to protect the public protector and to distance himself from claims by Gordhan that Mkhwebane "was corrupt and part of state capture".

Mpofu argued that Ramaphosa was seeking a relief that would go against a decision of the highest court in the land, the Constititional Court, which ruled that remedial actions of the public protector were binding in the Nkandla case of the former public protector Thuli Madonsela and ex-president Jacob Zuma.

"So this court must now defy 11 judges (of the ConCourt) who said: 'You cannot do this'," Mpofu argued.

He also argued that the Constitutional Court ruling was clear that only when a court "review was obtained" and "not asked", the remedial action should be implemented.

Gordhan's lawyer Michelle le Roux argued that the public protector wanted the minister to "be sentenced while the conviction was still on appeal".

Hamilton Maenetje, arguing for Ramaphosa, stated that the president has complied with the law by noting the report and engaging the public protector about it.

The matter is under way.

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