Moaning Moyane: Gordhan's got it in for me because he's jealous
'My tenure at SARS was the most successful in the democratic era,' is suspended boss's startling claim
Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan made it his “life mission” to 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 challenging two inquiries into his fitness to hold office. Gordhan offered evidence against Moyane at both inquiries.
Other arguments by Moyane include that during a “hurtful” incident at a meeting, Gordhan “refused to shake my hand” and triumphantly told Moyane: “I'm back!”
This went against the values of ubuntu, says Moyane, who is also upset that Gordhan called him “cheeky”.
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 in 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 filed a 700-page application on Monday, 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.
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 has previously stated that – as the former minister of finance before his unceremonious removal by President Jacob Zuma – he has “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, which 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 says in an affidavit filed at the Constitutional Court.
“Whatever the reasons, the enmity and acrimony directed at me by Gordhan and the others mentioned is legendary, undeniable and a notorious, well-known matter of public record”.
‘Gordhan refused to shake my hand’
In his application, Moyane spends a considerable amount of time detailing his various confrontations with Gordhan, which he says became increasingly hostile after then president Jacob 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, Gordhan refused to shake my hand, in the presence and to which no objection was forthcoming from the then deputy minister, Mcebisi Jonas, as I respectfully greeted him upon their arrival at SARS.
“Above all, this was a violation of the value of ubuntu, as well as the common rules of decency and/or professionalism. That is the hurtful impact he has on me every time I have to relate to him,” Moyane states.
He later adds that during this same meeting, Gordhan “full of triumph ... said to me: ‘I am back, you never thought I would be back.’”
“I felt insulted and my dignity degraded as a very senior leader of a significant institution. Nobody had ever humiliated me like that in front of my subordinates before. No minister and no president.”
Gordhan too conflicted
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 Judge Robert 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” for Judge Dennis Davis.
Davis, a renowned judicial authority on tax law and an adviser to the finance minister, publicly questioned SARS’s 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 alios, 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”.
‘What is Moyane still doing here?’
After Ramaphosa was elected president, Moyane claims his bodyguard witnessed Gordhan shouting “what is Moyane still doing here?” during then finance minister Malusi Gigaba’s budget speech.
“To this, the president did not respond audibly but he smiled and regrettably showed no sign of disapproval at such unmistakable disrespectful conduct displayed towards both me and him,” Moyane says.
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”.
“For example, I was the first and only commissioner of SARS in the history of the institution to reach the psychological important revenue milestone of R1-trillion and to break that hitherto elusive barrier three times in a row.”
In his discpinary hearing for misconduct before advocate Azhar Bham, Moyane has been charged for 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 so-called SARS rogue unit.
But he maintains he did nothing illegal, and can prove that all these charges are baseless.