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Stand-out quotes from the #Nkandla ConCourt face-off

EWN brings you the quotes of day from inside the highest court in the land.

Advocates representing President Jacob Zuma, the EFF, the DA and the Public Protector in the Constitutional Court during a hearing over the Nkandla debacle. Picture: Gia Nicolaides/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - A lot of powerful stuff was said during Tuesday's Constitutional Court battle over Nkandla and the powers of the Public Protector.

EWN has sifted through the legal arguments presented in the highest court in the land, to bring you some of the day's top quotes:

Wim Trengove, SC - acting for the EFF

"We submit that the president violated his ethical duty by firstly benefiting improperly and secondly by defying the Public Protector … in order to protect his ill-gotten gains."

"The National Assembly has an obligation to hold the president and his cabinet to account. … [But MPs] did not hold the president to account [even though] it's their duty."

Anton Katz, SC - acting for the DA

"This case goes deeper than the question of the Public Protector's powers and remedial action. It goes to the failure by government to hold to account that which is ultimately a homestead for one family."

"The fact that the National Assembly rubber stamped a white washing... we would submit paints a picture."

"Unlike the EFF, we say there WAS defiance on the part of the President, Parliament and the police minister."

Gilbert Marcus, SC - acting for Public Protector Thuli Madonsela

"If the powers of the Public Protector were to be construed via the act, it [would] invert the principles of constitutional supremacy. It would be the tail wagging the dog." - Marcus

Jeremy Gauntlett, SC - acting for President Jacob Zuma

"[We made the proposal to pay] not to see if we can settle the case, but to bring an end to a protracted and difficult issue which has traumatised the nation."

"We do agree that the President must carry out the remedial action in the Public Protector's report … We accept that in this case the recommendations were administrative and unreviewed, and therefore binding."

"We place no reliance on the report of the police minister."

"This is a delicate time in a dangerous year."

"If this court rules against the President, it leaves the door wide open to impeachment."

"This was a rip-off operation under the tutelage of the Public Works Department."

"The [police] minister seems to have shot his bolt."

Lindi Nkosi-Thomas, SC - acting for National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete

"The Public Protector cannot dictate to Parliament what it must do ... Parliament had to apply its mind."

"Ours is not an enforcement action. We are not the sheriff of the court … [Thuli Madonsela] cannot look to Parliament and expect them to rubberstamp [her reports]. The role of Parliament is different."

"There's no denying that Parliament acted on a wrong principle, thinking it was correct."

William Mokhari, SC - acting for South African Police Service

"The police minister [Nathi Nhleko] was acting on an instruction; his hands were tied."

Mogoeng Mogoeng, Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court

Mogoeng to Trengove: "Is there room for the president to say 'I didn't know' what the law on the Public Protector was? Or was it out-and-out defiance?"

Mogoeng to Gauntlett on concessions (amid laughs from the public gallery): "What is it that is being asked [for] here [by the applicants] that you disagree with?"

Dikgang Moseneke, Deputy Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court

Moseneke to Gauntlett: "What should we do with the Nhleko and ad hoc committee reports?" Gauntlett: "Nothing."

Moseneke to Mokhari: "So [you are saying that] a cabinet minister has acted unlawfully? I don't think you want to repeat that lightly."