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Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s defence of her report on President Cyril Ramaphosa’s ANC election campaign funding is based not just on her insistence that she is fighting for “accountability of holders of public power”, but also on an underlying argument that Ramaphosa is expecting “special treatment” that would never have been granted to his predecessor Jacob Zuma.  

“To really understand this case,” Mkhwebane’s lawyers say in heads of argument filed at the Pretoria high court last week, “one has to ask the hypothetical question as to what the attitude would be had the holder of public power, in similar circumstances, been a different individual and not this president … Reduced to its essential elements, this case is an attempt to create a sense of impunity for the president and to assert that he is above the applicable law.”..

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