Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Mpofu calls Moyane hearing ‘irrational and unlawful’

The disciplinary hearing of the South African Revenue Service’s suspended head Tom Moyane got underway on Saturday with Moyane’s lawyer Dali Mpofu criticising its terms of reference as “irrational and unlawful”.

Mpofu spent two hours arguing that one of the procedures at the hearing which prevents Moyane from giving oral evidence was constitutionally unfair. He stated that other senior public officials who have faced similar inquiries were afforded a chance to present oral evidence.

“If you are going to deviate from that process, then you must give legal reasons. Oral evidence is no discretion, it is compulsory. There are no exceptional circumstances that have been provided for the deviation,” said Mpofu.

READ MORE: Moyane: Ramaphosa blinked first, ‘sanity has prevailed’

“A constitutionally fair process includes an oral hearing and you cannot arbitrarily discriminate against Moyane,” he said.

On March 19, President Cyril Ramaphosa suspended Moyane as the head of the tax agency after he refused to step down voluntary. The president said at the time in a letter he had “lost confidence in his ability to lead the South African Revenue Service”. He was later served with a notice of a disciplinary inquiry.

Ramaphosa wrote that SARS under Moyane’s leadership had been marked by a “deterioration in public confidence”.

Moyane — appointed SARS commissioner in September 2014 by former president Jacob Zuma — was present at the hearing.

Mpofu also questioned the legality of an affidavit deposed by Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan, accusing him overstepping his authority and acting as a “biased individual”. Gordhan was SARS commissioner between 1999 and 2009.

Mpofu charged that his affidavit — which accused Moyane of ‘gross dereliction of duty’ — not worth the paper it was written on, as Gordhan had no authority over the tax service matters. He also said it was “incompetent” as it was based on a charge sheet.

READ MORE: Moyane’s SARS ultimatum to Ramaphosa

Mpofu further likened Gordhan to someone who shows up at a party they are not invited to and runs the show. “Gordhan’s affidavit is unlawful because it is sourced from a wrong power,” he said.

Ramaphosa’s legal representative, Heidi Barnes, dismissed the argument that depriving Moyane of a chance to give oral evidence was prejudiced, saying it was “permitted by the disciplinary code”.

During Moyane’s three-year tenure at the tax collection service a number of top officials resigned and some investigative units were shut down amid allegations of poor management and a dip in tax revenue.

The disciplinary process chaired by Advocate Azhar Bham is separate from another probe, the Nugent commission of inquiry, which was appointed in the year by Ramaphosa to investigate tax administration and governance at SARS.

In late June, Moyane’s legal representatives also made a submission to the Nugent commission, which its chaired by former Judge Robert Nugent, asking that it be put on hold or “disestablished” while the disciplinary hearings get underway.

Nugent at the time labelled the submission a “disgrace” that was littered with abuse. — Fin24

Subscribe to the M&G

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them.

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Subscribers only

Mbeki tells ANC that land without compensation goes against the...

‘This would be a very serious disincentive to investment,’ says Thabo Mbeki in a document arguing that the ANC should not proceed with the Constitutional amendment of section 25

Micro-hydropower lights up an Eastern Cape village

There is hidden potential for small hydropower plants in South Africa

More top stories

SIU freezes R22-million in Digital Vibes accounts

The Special Investigating Unit said it would ask the tribunal to declare the health department’s contract with the company unlawful

Life-saving free train travel offered to domestic abuse victims in...

A pioneering railway scheme in the UK is helping domestic violence victims to escape their abusers by providing them with free travel to reach refuge

Oral submissions to inquiry on local government elections start next...

The hearings will be open to the media and the public, under strict level-three regulations

Education employees queue for Covid jabs, but some may have...

People who have had Covid-19 in the past 30 days or who have had a flu shot in the past 14 days will be vaccinated at a later date
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×