South Africa: Mkhwebane-Ramaphosa - Legal Sparring Masks the Bigger Battle - a State At War With Itself

Left: Hawks cars. Right: Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane.

The public protector's remedial action was ruled binding under Thuli Madonsela. So should the president implement Busisiwe Mkhwebane's orders against Pravin Gordhan or wait for her report to be taken on review? The parties argued their cases in the North Gauteng High Court on Thursday.

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane's office has been involved in court action all week. Most of it has involved national political leaders and, therefore, the country's future. On Thursday, her lawyers took on a court application from President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Mkhwebane was represented by EFF national chair Dali Mpofu SC, while his party president, Julius Malema, watched the EFF lawyers (separate from Mpofu) from the gallery. Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan, a key Ramaphosa ally, was also represented.

The public protector has been repeatedly dragged to court recently as parties implicated in her reports want to interdict her remedial actions from being implemented. When Thuli Madonsela was in the role and former president Jacob Zuma tried to ignore her orders on his Nkandla upgrades, the Constitutional Court ruled her office's orders were binding unless overturned on review.

The current legal questions is: what happens in the interim if the public protector's reports are taken on review...

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