/ 13 March 2019

Moyane bid to grill Gordhan to be heard at Zondo commission

Former Sars commissioner Tom Moyane.
Former Sars commissioner Tom Moyane. (Paul Botes/M&G)

The Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture continues on Wednesday, with an application by erstwhile South African Revenue Service (Sars) boss Tom Moyane to cross-examine Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan.

Last year, Gordhan recounted to the commission — chaired by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo — of the enmity that arose between himself and Moyane.

According to Gordhan’s statement, Moyane blatantly refused to account to him when he was still finance minister in 2016. Gordhan claimed Moyane would sometimes directly report to then president Jacob Zuma.

“Mr Moyane made serious allegations against me and continued to refuse to accept that as minister of finance, he is accountable and answerable to me for the performance of Sars,” Gordhan said in his statement.

“However, the former president did nothing to intervene in this deteriorating relationship, to facilitate adjudication of the dispute, or to resolve it in any other less formal way.”

Gordhan said the discord between them “festered” for months.

He referred to his affidavit to the Nugent commission, which last year recommended immediate action to forestall any further deterioration of our tax administration system. Moyane was fired as Sars commissioner by President Cyril Ramaphosa shortly after.

“We stress that the replacement of Mr Moyane is not a panacea, but only the first necessary measure without which there is no possibility of rectifying the damage that has been done to Sars,” retired Judge Robert Nugent said in his interim report.

Last month, Moyane’s bid to have his dismissal overturned by the Constitutional Court was shot down. Moyane’s legal team approached the court in December last year after the Pretoria high court dismissed his application.

Moyane will be represented by advocate Dali Mpofu in his application to cross-examine Gordhan at the Zondo commission.

The Business Day reported on Monday that Gordhan will oppose Moyane’s bid to cross-examine him on the grounds that the application is being used to advance the Economic Freedom Fighters’ political campaign against him.

Gordhan is reportedly believed to have raised issue with the fact that Moyane is being represented by Mpofu, a senior office-bearer in the party.

Gordhan’s appearance before the commission last November was accompanied by an Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) picket outside the venue for the duration of his four-day testimony.

On one of the days, EFF leader Julius Malema addressed a large crowd of his supporters where he lambasted Gordhan and raised allegations of corruption against him.

Malema also repeated claims that Gordhan’s daughter, Anisha, had benefited from state tenders siphoned to her by her father. She was compared with Zuma’s son, Duduzane, who has been implicated in Gupta dealings by witnesses at the commission.

On the last day of his testimony, Gordhan denied this.

Gordhan laid charges of criminal defamation and crimen injuria against Malema in November last year.

The EFF hit back, announcing that it had opened its own case against Gordhan for money laundering, corruption, racketeering, fraud, perjury, as well as contravention of the Intelligence Act and Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act.