Moyane is fast running out of options

On Tuesday, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo denied former South African Revenue Service (Sars) commissioner Tom Moyane the right to cross-examine Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan.

Moyane has spectacularly lost every legal battle against the Sars commission, his disciplinary hearing and his axing.

While at the helm of Sars, Moyane mimicked former president Jacob Zuma in evading accountability.

Throughout his disciplinary inquiry, chaired by advocate Azhar Bham, as well as the Nugent commission of inquiry into tax administration and governance at Sars, Moyane did not once rebut allegations made against him by more than 50 senior Sars staff members.

Instead, he cried conspiracy, hatred and procedural unfairness — the latter despite being given ample opportunity to respond to Nugent, which he chose not to do.

Moyane did not explain why he and Boston-based consultancy Bain & Company had begun “restructuring” Sars before he was appointed commissioner, and why contracts with Bain and information technology company Gartner, with its links to his friend Patrick Monyeki, were awarded unlawfully — a finding by the Sars commission.

Nor has he explained his inaction in relation to his second-in-charge, Jonas Makwakwa, who has also not answered to money-laundering allegations in relation to the R1.2-million deposited into his personal bank account and that of his partner, Kelly-Ann Elskie.

As an aside, the Hawks concluded their investigation into the Makwakwa matter in November and handed it over to the National Prosecuting Authority. Six months later and nearly three years after the damning allegations surfacing, there is little clarity on whether Makwakwa will ever explain the bulk cash deposits into his bank account.

Moyane sought to have his pet project ventilated in the state capture commission of inquiry before Zondo on the discredited “rogue unit” narrative. It’s a narrative that has relentlessly been used against Gordhan by his political opponents ever since the allegations first emerged in the Sunday Times in 2014. The newspaper later retracted the story.

The unit was, and still is — as a result of Moyane and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) pushing it — the subject of a number of investigations, commissions of inquiry and task teams.

The Sikhakhane Report, a report commissioned by Sars, continues to be at the heart of the “rogue unit” allegations. Advocate Muzi Sikhakhane SC is currently Zuma’s attorney.

The findings of a report by KPMG on the unit, commissioned by Sars, were retracted by the audit firm, which reimbursed Sars the R23-million it was paid for the work.

The “documentary review” of the Sikhakhane report by a treasury-appointed advisory board headed by retired judge Frank Kroon was also discredited when Kroon himself did an about-turn on his initial finding of the illegality of the unit before the Nugent commission last year.

The Nugent commission also heard that Moyane got legal opinion from advocate Wim Trengove SC, indicating that the unit was not unlawful — legal opinion which he ignored.

Nugent also found that although there could have been individuals who had gone rogue in the unit, its establishment — which Gordhan was responsible for — was not unlawful.

Next week, Gordhan is due to respond to a subpoena by public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane over the establishment of the unit.

Should the “rogue unit” narrative be openly aired and dispensed with, it will be fascinating to see what new stick Moyane finds to beat Gordhan with.

He will find one, with a little help from his new-found allies, the EFF.

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Natasha Marrian
Natasha Marrian
Marrian has built a reputation as an astute political journalist, investigative reporter and commentator. Until recently she led the political team at Business Day where she also produced a widely read column that provided insight into the political spectacle of the week.

Related stories

How graft arrests came together

Learning from its failure to turn the Schabir Shaik conviction into one for Jacob Zuma, the state is now building an effective system for catching thieves. Khaya Koko, Sabelo Skiti and Paddy Harper take a look behind the scenes at how law enforcement agencies have started creating consequences for the corrupt

Richard Calland: South Africa needs a Roosevelt style of leadership

President Cyril Ramaphosa needs to hold ‘fireside chats’ and have more power and institutional muscle around him, writes Richard Calland

This beef smells like manure

What’s that animal sound? Is it a Hawk swooping? A chicken roosting? No, it’s Zuma remembering a beef

Editorial: Arrests expose the rot in the ANC

The ANC has used its power to create networks of patronage. And this means going after corruption will cost the party financially

eThekwini’s everlasting security contract

An invalid contract worth R85-million a month is still being paid — three years after a court order to stop

Zuma vs Ramaphosa? Neither is the leader South Africans deserve

Neither statesman could command sufficient authority in an ANC that remains mired in corruption and infighting and at the behest of big capital

Subscribers only

Free State branches gun for Ace

Parts of the provincial ANC will target their former premier, Magashule, and the Free State PEC in a rolling mass action campaign

SAA bailout raises more questions

As the government continues to grapple with the troubles facing the airline, it would do well to keep on eye on the impending Denel implosion

More top stories

Unite with Nigeria’s ‘Speak Up’ generation protesting against police brutality

Photos of citizens draped in the bloodied flag have spread around the world in the month the country should be celebrating 60 years of independence

Hawks swoop down with more arrests in R1.4-billion corruption blitz

The spate of arrests for corruption continues apace in Gauteng and the Eastern Cape.

Catholic NGO boss accused of racism and abuse in Sudan

The aid worker allegedly called his security guard a ‘slave’

Agrizzi too ill to be treated at Bara?

The alleged crook’s “health emergency” — if that is what it is — shows up the flaws, either in our health system or in our leadership as a whole

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday