Gordhan too ‘conflicted’ to be main witness

Public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan made it his “life mission” to get get rid of suspended SA Revenue Services commissioner Tom Moyane because he was jealous of his success.

“It would seem that one of Gordhan’s life missions was to take off from where he had left off in March 2017 and to get rid of me, by hook or by crook, and harassing me away from occupying the position of Sars commissioner,” says Moyane.

This is but one of many arguments made by Moyane in papers filed before the Constitutional Court on Monday which is challenging two inquiries into his fitness to hold office.

Gordhan offered evidence against Moyane at both inquiries.

Other arguments by Moyane include that c

Moyane says Gordhan targeted him out of “envy and downright jealousy” because his tenure at the tax authority was “the most successful in the democratic era”.

Gordhan is the main witness in the misconduct inquiry into Moyane’s fitness to hold office, the legality of which he is disputing before the highest court of the land.

Gordhan was also a key witness in the inquiry into tax administration, chaired by judge Robert Nugent, who has written to Moyane’s lawyers indicating he would recommend to President Cyril Ramaphosa that he be fired “in the interest of Sars and the country”.

Moyane on Monday filed a 700-page application, seeking to challenge the legality of both the Nugent Commission and a disciplinary inquiry into his fitness to hold office.

He has accused Ramaphosa of violating his oath of office in his treatment of him.

Public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan made it his “life mission” to get get rid of suspended SA Revenue Services commissioner Tom Moyane because he was jealous of his success.

According to Moyane, Ramaphosa unlawfully abdicated his powers to make the case for his removal from office to Gordhan, “who is not legally authorised to act as he did in respect of the disciplinary inquiry and who is in any event further disqualified due to his conflict of interests and proximity to the issues as a relatively recent commissioner of Sars and his legendary hostile and disrespectful attitude and conduct towards me”.

Gordhan previously stated that – as the former minister of finance before his unceremonious removal by former president Jacob Zuma – he had “personal knowledge of the facts” in relation to the charges against Moyane.

Moyane further says Gordhan wrongly believes he was the source of the “rogue unit” revelations that ultimately led to Gordhan facing an aborted fraud case.

“Gordhan and the other members of the rogue unit, like Ivan Pillay, Adrian Lackay and Johan van Loggerenberg, to this day, believe that I was the force behind the allegations against them concerning the rogue unit as part of some political agenda,” Moyane states in his affidavit.

In his application, Moyane spends a considerable amount of time detailing his various confrontations with Gordhan, which he says became increasingly hostile after Zuma reappointed him to the position of finance minister to replace Des van Rooyen.

“Literally, within hours of his appointment, Gordhan rushed to Sars and, quite unprovoked, refused to shake my hand.”

Moyane argues that Gordhan is too conflicted to be his primary accuser in the misconduct hearing against him.

The minister was also a pivotal witness at Nugent’s inquiry into tax administration.

Moyane has given the Constitutional Court a telephone recording of Gordhan admonishing him after Sars released a statement saying it had “lost all confidence [in] and respect" in judge Dennis Davis.

Davis, a renowned judicial authority on tax law and adviser to the finance minister, publicly questioned Sars’ operational capabilities in 2017.

Moyane states that during that call, Gordhan “falsely accused me of being disrespectful towards him and being cheeky; thinking I was, inter alia, God; attacking judges; being connected to the leadership of the Hawks and the NPA; needing to ‘grow up’, which comment he found to be disrespectful when it was redirected back to him”.

In his Constitutional Court application, Moyane denies any suggestion that his leadership was responsible for the collapse of Sars, and insists that “by any lawful measure or standard, my tenure at Sars was the most successful in the democratic era”.

In his disciplinary hearing for misconduct before advocate Azhar Bham, Moyane has been charged over his alleged mishandling of a Financial Intelligence Centre report on his former second-in-command Jonas Makwakwa; unauthorised bonus payments to his staff; allegedly misleading parliament over the Makwakwa investigation; and instructing Sars employee Helgard Lombard to feign illness and not co-operate with the KPMG investigation into the rogue unit.

But he maintains he did nothing illegal, and can prove that all these charges are baseless.