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Mkhwebane had the jurisdiction to probe CR17 donations - lawyer

Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane
Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane
Image: SANDILE NDLOVU

Advocate Muzi Sikhakhane is arguing that public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane had the jurisdiction to probe the funding of the CR17 campaign as it involved state affairs.

Sikhakhane is arguing on behalf of Mkhwebane in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria in an attempt to shoot down the argument of Ramaphosa's lawyers who had argued that the public protector went beyond her jurisdiction.  Sikhakhane said that the state was more than just the executive, legislature and the judiciary.

"If you look at the state in a narrow way as lawyers do, you'd say it's the judiciary, executive and legislature... but these are parts of the four components of the state according to political science," Sikhakhane argued.

He said the the four parts of the state according to political science comprised the population, territory, government and sovereignty. He argued that the state, when looked at in a broader way, is "a sum total of these four components". 

"This is a [former] deputy president of the country and ruling party, seeking to become the president of his party. It doesn't end there, it's not a private matter, he's seeking to become president of the state," argued Sikhakhane.

"The understanding that the CR17 is not a matter of public administration is narrow and is not a proper understanding of what the state is... we submit that the jurisdiction part is wrong."

The North Gauteng High Court is hearing Ramaphosa’s legal application for a judicial review of Mkhwebane’s report on the R500,000 donation made by the late CEO of Bosasa, Gavin Watson, to Ramaphosa’s 2017 campaign to become ANC president. 

The matter, which is set down for two days of oral arguments, is under way.

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