- Norma Gigaba has approached the High Court, claiming her arrest by the Hawks was unlawful and unconstitutional.
- The Hawks have defended their actions, saying Gigaba was arrested after a warrant was issued by a magistrate.
- Norma Gigaba claims her estranged husband, former minister Malusi Gigaba, was behind the arrest to "teacher her a lesson".
Norma Gigaba's lawyers have argued that her arrest by the Hawks for malicious damage to property and crimen injuria was nothing more than a "favour for her husband", former finance minister Malusi Gigaba.
In addition to contending that Norma Gigaba was arrested as part of an unlawful scheme by the Hawks to seize her devices and delete material from them, her advocate Dali Mpofu, argued that "another motive might have been to punish [Norma Gigaba]" or to "teach her a lesson" for daring to confront him and his questionable "friends who apparently aided and abetted his nefarious activities in all spheres".
"Whatever the true motives, what is clear is that the arrest and its sequelae were plainly unlawful and unconstitutional and must accordingly be declared as such."
Norma Gigaba's lawyers have also questioned why Police Minister Bheki Cele had not provided any formal notification that he aligned himself with the Hawks' defence of its conduct in the Norma Gigaba case - and said it clearly showed that he had "distanced himself" from the saga.
Mpofu and advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi on Thursday urged the Pretoria High Court to rule that the involvement of the Hawks in what they contended was a "domestic dispute" was unlawful and "their involvement in this case must cease".
Judge Cassim Sardiwalla reserved his ruling on the case.
Hawks advocate Dawie Joubert earlier argued that there was "no justification" for Norma Gigaba to turn to an urgent civil court to challenge the criminal case against her, which was postponed until next month by the Pretoria Magistrate's Court on Monday.
"On what basis could this applicant persuade this court that she cannot get redress in the ordinary course?" Joubert asked.
He stressed that, should Norma Gigaba contend she had been unlawfully arrested and prosecuted, she could issue a civil claim against the Hawks. According to Joubert, Norma Gigaba was arrested with a "lawful warrant, issued by a magistrate".
Joubert further contended that Norma Gigaba had admitted in warning statements, which she said were unlawfully obtained, that she had trashed a R3 million black Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG "G-Wagon" during a dispute with her husband. She also admitted that she had sent an insulting WhatsApp message to his friend Peterson Siyaya and suggested she would defend her conduct on the grounds that she was "provoked".
This was not necessarily a valid defence, Joubert added.
Mpofu and Ngcukaitobi, however, argued that Norma Gigaba's arrest by the Hawks - an elite unit mandated to investigate priority crimes - was unlawful and invalid because the Hawks were not mandated to investigate petty crimes like crimen injuria or malicious damage to property.
As a result, they said, her prosecution "at the instance of the Hawks" must also be set aside.
Mpofu further argued that the Hawks had actively avoided responding to Norma Gigaba's claims that she had been unlawfully arrested and instead focused on arguing that her case was not urgent and should not be decided by the High Court.
"This is so because there can be no sustainable defence on the merits in light of the gross violations involved," he said.
Norma Gigaba alleged that she was arrested and held in the Brooklyn police cells overnight, after she threatened to take legal action against the Hawks for seizing her devices, including her phones and laptop.
Mpumalanga Hawks Captain Kenneth Mavuso claimed that the elite unit arrested Norma Gigaba because they were told these charges were potentially linked to an alleged conspiracy to murder her husband.
"This is part of the unfounded innuendo which the Hawks have been driving in the media as part of their false narrative to seek, ex post facto, to justify their unlawful and corrupt involvement in a domestic squabble which falls far outside of their constitutional mandate and jurisdiction," Norma Gigaba stated in response to those claims.
"My rights in this respect alone deserve urgent and immediate vindication. I cannot be expected to be going around as a person who is unfairly stigmatised as involved in some (imaginary) conspiracy to murder the father of my own children."
Mavuso had also claimed that the Hawks applied for an arrest warrant against her because of the "high value" of the vehicle she was accused of vandalising - an argument she said was "legally unsustainable".