‘Wait for disciplinary hearing’, Ramaphosa tells Moyane

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JOHANNESBURG, July 9 – President Cyril Ramaphosa has told suspended SA Revenue Services (Sars) commissioner Tom Moyane to wait for the outcome of his disciplinary hearing as the former tax boss continues to object to legal processes instituted against him.

Moyane’s lawyer Eric Mabuza said Ramaphosa ”blinked”. He said was obvious that Ramaphosa had no other options in his response to Moyane’s demands that either one or both inquiries be halted and that the State foot his legal fees.

”The cautious and commendable approach is that the president will await the ruling of advocate Azhar Bham on the objections raised, which is scheduled for oral arguments on July 21…we are happy with the president’s response which is a breath of fresh air,” Mabuza told reporters.

”For his part, [suspended] commissioner Moyane will continue to maintain his dignified silence and only communicate via the offices of his legal representatives. The time will surely come when he will be called upon to account personally as a servant of the public…his silence must however not be mistaken for cowardice, timidity or weakened resolve to fight for his rights.”

Moyane remained quiet next to his lawyer and did not respond to question directed at him. Mabuza told reporters that his client has been  treated unfairly and had to endure ”verbal insults, unfounded accusations, trial by media, media leaks from the highest office to embedded journalists, doctored audio tapes, appointment of a biased chairperson, parallel inquiries” among the many complaints he tabled. He however, could not give evidence of his claims of media bias towards his client when asked to do so.

Moyane has since raised objections to the Sars inquiry to investigate tax administration and governance at Sars, chaired by retired Judge Robert Nugent, as well as to his disciplinary hearing. He has stated that both processes were unfair to him and posed a ”double jeopardy”. His attempts to ask Nugent to stop the inquiry and expunge some of the evidence already presented and the removal of Professor Michael Katz from the commission, failed when the judge dismissed his application. He then wrote directly to Ramaphosa, threatening legal action should the president not adhere to his demands before a set deadline.

Ramaphosa established the commission of inquiry after the revenue service missed its revenue target, reporting a collection shortfall of R800 million for 2017/18. His disciplinary hearing related to alleged misconduct in violation of his duties and responsibilities when he headed the revenue collection service. Requests from Ramaphosa urging Moyane to resign were unsuccessful as Moyane stuck to his guns, prompting the president to establish a commission of inquiry and institute a disciplinary hearing. Nugent commission will resume work in August.

Retired Constitutional Court Judge Kate O’Regan was initially appointed as presiding officer for the disciplinary hearing, to which Moyane raised objections. O’Regan was replaced by Bham. Moyane objected to links between O’Regan and her being a board member at Corruption Watch.

Moyane headed Sars for four years during. In that period, the revenue service missed its collection targets by billions and became widely viewed as a tool in the power struggle between former president Jacob Zuma and his political foes. (ANA)