/ 19 November 2018

Zuma expressed ‘extraordinary interest’ in Sars boss — Gordhan

Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan.
Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan. (Oupa Nkosi/M&G)

Former president Jacob Zuma expressed “extraordinary interest” in the appointment of the new South African Revenue Service (Sars) commissioner, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan told the commission of inquiry into state capture on Monday.

In his testimony to the commission — chaired by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo — Gordhan said Zuma did not want to follow the usual processes which involved interviews and a Cabinet consultation.

LIVESTREAM: Pravin Gordhan at the Zondo commission

Instead, Gordhan said he was told he was ‘interfering’ for asking for protocol to be followed. “One of the issues that has been brought to my attention was that I was seen to ‘interfere’ for asking the president to follow protocol,” he said.

Gordhan said Sars required a new commissioner after Oupa Magashula resigned on July 12 2013. The position was advertised in the latter half of 2013 and received 120 applications, but a new commissioner was only appointed in 2014 after the elections in May that year. Gordhan was reshuffled to a new ministry, the department cooperative governance and traditional affairs, following the 2014 elections.

Tom Moyane was appointed as commissioner of the revenue service during Nhlanhla Nene’s stint as finance minister.

When asked whether the correct processes were followed, Gordhan said Moyane would be better placed to answer that question.

READ MORE: Gordhan — Connect the dots to uproot state capture

One of the other appointments that Gordhan spoke of was the alleged Gupta offer of the position of finance minister to then deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas.

According to Gordhan, had Jonas replaced Nene in 2015, the Gupta brothers had allegedly asked that he dismiss four individuals: treasury director-general Lungisa Fuzile, treasury procurement officer Kenneth Brown, head of tax and financial sector policy Ismail Momoniat and Andrew Donaldson, the former deputy director general at the treasury.