Former South African Revenue Service (Sars) commissioner Tom Moyane’s bid to have his dismissal set aside has been dismissed by the Constitutional Court.
A court order dated February 4 states that after reviewing Moyane’s application for leave to appeal, the court has concluded “that the application should be dismissed as it bears no reasonable prospects of success”.
It’s the end of the road for #TomMoyane’s legal challenges to his dismissal as SARS Commissioner.
Concourt says his bid to appeal ruling (that dismissed his attempts to stop Pres Ramaphosa from appointing his replacement) has “no prospects of success” pic.twitter.com/qzkJ40JoCf
— Karyn Maughan (@karynmaughan) February 12, 2019
The court further made the decision not to award any costs.
Moyane’s legal team approached the highest court in the land in December last year after the Pretoria high court dismissed his application to have his dismissal overturned.
Judge Hans Fabricius delivered a scathing ruling where he described Moyane’s conduct during the proceedings as “particularly reprehensible, vexatious and abusive” before dismissing the application with costs.
Moyane’s lawyer, Eric Mabuza, responded to Fabricus’ ruling by saying that the judge is punishing Moyane for challenging Ramaphosa’s decision to remove him.
“It was unnecessary to call him reprehensible and abominable”, Mabuza said at the time.
Fabricius also dismissed Moyane’s bid to block the Nugent commission’s final report which looked into governance and administration at Sars.
The commission’s interim report recommended that President Cyril Ramaphosa fire Moyane, saying that replacing him would be the first step towards fixing the damage at the revenue service.
Ramaphosa fired Moyane on November 1 in line with these recommendations and Moyane filed papers at the Constitutional Court soon after his sacking where he argued that the Nugent Commission was “unlawful and improperly constituted”. Moyane also argued that since the commission was not conducted properly and acted beyond its mandate, its findings were invalid and so is his dismissal.
Moyane also stated, in the court papers, that it was unfair to him that his disciplinary inquiry and the commission were running concurrently, saying Ramaphosa would have to suspend either one or both.
The apex court also dismissed this application in November but despite this ruling, Moyane forged ahead with the Pretoria high court litigation.
The presidency has issued a statement welcoming the decision of the Constitutional Court.
“We welcome the decision as it brings to finality a very unfortunate and long drawn out matter. This decision now paves the way for a period of renewal at Sars.”
Finance Minister Tito Mboweni has appointed a panel of experts to look into finding Moyane’s replacement.
The panel will interview and shortlist candidates for the top position at the revenue service for recommendation to the president.
Former finance minister Trevor Manuel will lead the panel which is made up of high court judge Dennis Davis, treasury deputy director general Ismail Momoniat, business consultant Angela Bester, Advocate Thandi Orleyn, businessperson Fezekile Tshiqi and chartered accountant and businessperson Sindi Mabaso-Koyana.
*UPDATE: Mabuza has noted the Constitutional Court’s ruling and says that “it does not come as a complete surprise”.
According to Mabuza, Moyane has accepted the ruling on his dismissal but says he will carry on with his high court challenge of the processes that led to him being fired.
He says Moyane and the legal team will meet “before the end of the week” to find a way forward.