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Mkhwebane hearing: Court judgments are just 'opinions', says Dali Mpofu

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Mkhwebane hearing: Court judgments are just 'opinions', says Dali Mpofu

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane
Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane

5th August 2022

By: News24Wire

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Court rulings are just "opinions", and those against Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane are "blatantly wrong", her counsel, advocate Dali Mpofu SC, told the Section 194 Committee.

The committee will decide whether Mkhwebane is competent for the position of Public Protector.

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Mpofu represented Mkhwebane in some of the court findings against her.

Also, the previous day, Mpofu objected to a witness' evidence being led because, according to him, it didn't relate to the four court cases upon which the misconduct and incompetence charges against Mkhwebane were built.

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In the end, the testimony of Baldwin Neshunzi did relate to one of the court matters, and also provided another piece in the puzzle of the State Security Agency's involvement at the Office of the Public Protector.

On Friday, the evidence leader, advocate Nazreen Bawa SC, took the former South African Revenue Service deputy commissioner, Ivan Pillay, through the court judgments which had, with scathing rulings, set aside Mkhwebane's reports against him.

"This is a mighty waste of time," complained Mpofu. "A judgment is an opinion of a court."

Bawa responded: "I would think a judgment is binding on everyone."

Mpofu asked: "What is the purpose of what has happened in the last 10 minutes?"

Bawa said it would go a lot quicker if he refrained from interrupting.

"This is not an interruption!" interrupted Mpofu, who wasn't recognised to speak by the chairperson, Qubudile Dyantyi.

Mpofu said he wanted it placed on record that "what is typed here" in the court rulings "is there".

Bawa asked whether he also admitted to the accuracy of the judgments.

"How can I admit to something that is blatantly wrong? All these judgments are wrong."

Mpofu's attack on the judiciary continued through Pillay's cross-examination. After Mpofu put it to Pillay that judgments were opinions, Pillay asked: "How can opinions be binding?"

"Don't ask me questions," Mpofu hit back.

He said Pillay did not understand the legal principle.

"I understand it, but I don't think your client understands it," Pillay answered.

Mpofu's questioning continued into Friday afternoon.

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