Tom Moy­ane in fam­ily as­sault row

Sars boss Tom Moy­ane is ac­cused of as­sault­ing his grand­child’s teenage mother. YOU un­cov­ers the back­ground to the as­sault al­le­ga­tions

YOU (South Africa) - - CONTENTS - BY RUWAYDAH HARRIS PIC­TURES: SHARON SERETLO

SHE runs a hand gin­gerly across her jaw where she claims one of the most high-pro­file men in South Africa kicked her “like a ninja”. The bruises to her jaw­line may have faded but a deep cut in­side her right cheek is still heal­ing, which makes eat­ing painful and dif­fi­cult.

What hap­pened to her was even more hurt­ful be­cause her al­leged at­tacker is her child’s dot­ing grand­fa­ther, the teenager says.

The harm sus­pended Sars boss Tom Moy­ane has done is ir­repara­ble, 17-yearold Thembi* says. Her eyes fill with tears as she re­counts the af­ter­noon of the al­leged as­sault – and the fact she hasn’t been al­lowed to see her baby boy since.

Her 24-year-old boyfriend, Zakes*, Tom and his wife Thandi’s only child and the fa­ther of her six-month-old son, had fetched her from school in Bryanston.

They’d gone to the Moy­anes’ sec­ond home in Wel­tevre­den­park, north­west of Jo­han­nes­burg.

Thembi lived in the Wel­tevre­den­park house with Zakes for sev­eral months af­ter they’d started dat­ing, un­til she dis­Sus­pended cov­ered she was preg­nant last year. The Moy­anes then in­vited her to move into their home in Blue Val­ley Golf Es­tate, Cen­tu­rion.

“They said they wanted to take care of me dur­ing the preg­nancy,” she re­calls, adding she and Zakes hadn’t moved all their be­long­ings – which was why they re­turned to Wel­tevre­den­park in midMay as they needed to fetch a few things.

“My par­ents told us the house was be­ing ren­o­vated so we couldn’t re­turn there af­ter our son’s birth,” Zakes says.

When they ar­rived at the house that af­ter­noon he was sur­prised to find his cousin in the lounge.

“He seemed ner­vous and as we walked in he said Thembi must leave. I asked him why and told him most of her things were still there. He walked away and made a call on his phone. Forty-five min­utes later my dad stormed in,” Zakes says. Then, Thembi says, all hell broke loose. “He screamed at me as he en­tered the house,” she re­counts. “‘I’m not your fa­ther!’ he yelled, ‘ What are you do­ing here? Get out of my f**king house!’”

She was ter­ri­fied. “I thought he was go­ing to hit me right then.” Zakes stepped in and tried to calm his fu­ri­ous fa­ther.

“I asked him to please sit down, to ex­plain where his an­i­mos­ity to­ward Thembi was com­ing from so she could un­der­stand what she’d done wrong and apol­o­gise.” But he claims his dad con­tin­ued scream­ing at Thembi.

“He [Tom] blamed the death of his fa­ther on me,” the young woman says. “He said I was bad luck, that I was the rea­son ev­ery­thing had gone wrong, that it was an ac­ci­dent that Zakes and I had met and that our child was a mis­take.

“I said I was sorry, I don’t know what I did, but you can’t just hate some­one overnight.” Then, she al­leges, Tom got vi­o­lent. “He tack­led me against the wall and I hid my phone un­der my arm. He grabbed the phone from me and threw it on the floor. The bat­tery fell out and I picked up the phone and in­serted the bat­tery. I told him I was record­ing him and I held the phone against my ear. He kicked the phone and kicked my face.”

Thembi’s mother, Zinhle*, later laid an as­sault charge at the Rand­burg po­lice sta­tion.

The two young lovers moved in with Zinhle af­ter the in­ci­dent.

The na­tional prose­cut­ing au­thor­ity

hasn’t made a de­ci­sion on whether it will pros­e­cute Tom. NPA spokesper­son Hurbetin Phindi Louw says the mat­ter is still un­der con­sid­er­a­tion with the of­fice of the direc­tor of pub­lic pros­e­cu­tions in Gaut­eng. “A se­nior state ad­vo­cate is deal­ing with the mat­ter as a de­ci­sion docket,” she says.

Thembi says she doesn’t want her son’s grand­fa­ther to go to jail but she does want an apol­ogy. She also wants him to stop ha­rass­ing her and con­trol­ling his son, and to get her child back.

Her baby is liv­ing with the Moy­anes af­ter they al­legedly made her and the baby’s dad sign a doc­u­ment giv­ing them cus­tody.

Zakes has been al­lowed to visit his son, but Thembi hasn’t seen him since the day of the al­leged as­sault.

IT WAS love at first sight when Zakes and Thembi laid eyes on each other at North­gate shop­ping cen­tre the day be­fore her 16th birth­day in Novem­ber 2016. “A mu­tual friend in­tro­duced us,” Zakes re­calls. “I must’ve looked in her eyes for 10 sec­onds but it felt like 10 hours. I just wanted to be with her.”

Thembi was at the mall with her now 11-year-old twin sib­lings. She told Zakes it was her birth­day the next day, and he asked if he could take her out.

The smit­ten cou­ple are sit­ting side by side in the lounge of her mother’s home in Rand­burg.

“She looked so beau­ti­ful on her birth­day,” Zinhle says, tak­ing up the story.

“She was smil­ing and said she was go­ing out with friends, but I didn’t want her to go. ‘I’m 16!’ she said and she called her friend, who’d been wait­ing in the car, to greet me. I knew her friends well – they’d all been at school to­gether and I knew she was in good com­pany, so I let her go.” But Zinhle’s life be­came a liv­ing hell af­ter that night.

Her daugh­ter would dis­ap­pear for weeks on end and wouldn’t take her calls. “I didn’t sleep, I didn’t eat. I was look­ing for her all over. The Rand­burg po­lice know me well,” Zinhle says.

Thembi had moved in with Zakes in Wel­tevre­dend­park and re­fused to go home.

“I had no idea who this boy was,” she says. “I even­tu­ally got his cell­phone num­ber from her friend but they ig­nored my calls.”

Fi­nally, a week be­fore Christ­mas, she told her mother about Zakes and in­vited her to Christ­mas lunch to meet his par­ents.

They had a lovely day, Zinhle says. The en­tire ex­tended Moy­ane fam­ily was there and no ex­pense was spared to make the day happy and mem­o­rable.

Tom was in­ter­ested in Thembi’s back­ground.

“He ini­tially thought she was coloured be­cause of her fea­tures and [be­cause] she’s light-skinned. I told him we’re Zulu from KwaZulu-Natal and he was vis­i­bly shocked,” Zinhle says.

Thembi be­lieves this was the turn­ing point in her re­la­tion­ship with the Moy­anes. “I think they wanted their son to date a white or coloured girl – not a black girl with a di­vorced mother who’s strug­gling to make ends meet,” she says.

HER sus­pi­cion that she was no longer as wel­come in the fam­ily grew when she was preg­nant and moved into the Moy­anes’ pala­tial Blue Val­ley man­sion, Thembi says. “Zakes’ mother told me from the out­set that their helper wasn’t there for me – I must make my bed and tidy the room; if I use the dishes, I must wash them.”

She heard Thandi sug­gest that Zakes ask his white ex-girl­friend on a date.

“I was preg­nant with his child and she wanted him to hook up with an ex. They were openly hate­ful to­wards me and would speak Por­tuguese or Tsonga in front of me, know­ing I don’t know these lan­guages. It was clear from the way they’d look at me that they were dis­cussing me.”

The house be­came an un­happy and lonely prison, she says.

“It was awk­ward hav­ing din­ner with my par­ents,” Zakes re­calls. “As Thembi be­came heav­ier, it was dif­fi­cult for her to go up and down the stairs. I would get what­ever she needed down­stairs but my dad told me not to do things for her. ‘Preg­nancy is not an ill­ness,’ he’d say.”

‘I don’t know what I did, but you can’t just hate some­one overnight’

The sit­u­a­tion got so bad they would sneak down­stairs to eat af­ter his par­ents had gone to bed.

When the baby was born Thembi re­turned to her mother’s home with him, ac­cord­ing to Zulu cus­tom. Dur­ing this time things be­came even worse.

Zakes says he was treated like a pris­oner by his par­ents, who’d take his phone away so that he had no con­tact with the out­side world, in­clud­ing the mother of his child.

“They told me if I did as they said, I could get back all the things I’d been ac­cus­tomed to.

“They took my cell­phone and my car. I was trapped in their house.”

DUR­ING this time the Moy­anes went to Zinhle’s par­ents to pay dam­ages for the preg­nancy, Zinhle says, as well as to get ac­cess to the child and give the child their sur­name. At the time, the young cou­ple thought they were pay­ing lobola.

“The amount they paid was ridicu­lous. I’m too em­bar­rassed to tell you what they paid,” Zinhle says.

The Moy­anes ap­par­ently of­fered to pay for the teen’s school­ing and sug­gested a board­ing school in KwaZulu-Natal. They said they’d take care of the baby.

“I re­fused to go be­cause it meant I wouldn’t see my child or Zakes for months,” Thembi says.

When she re­fused to go to KwaZu­luNatal, the Moy­anes tried to per­suade Zakes to go on hol­i­day in Amer­ica alone.

“I couldn’t take Thembi with me. I knew this was a ploy to break us up,” he says.

He says he and his fa­ther have never had a close re­la­tion­ship, and also ad­mits he’s had a prob­lem with dagga and drink­ing.

“I was never happy and I never had a re­la­tion­ship with my fa­ther be­cause he was never around,” re­calls Zakes, who at­tended board­ing schools as a child and stud­ied opera and western clas­si­cal mu­sic at the Univer­sity of Cape Town.

In 2014 he at­tended the Berklee Col-

lege of Mu­sic in Bos­ton in the USA.

“Mu­sic is my pas­sion, but my par­ents have al­ways dis­cour­aged me from go­ing to au­di­tions and start­ing a mu­sic career,” he adds. “It seems like they don’t want me to stand on my own two feet. They want to con­trol me with money.”

HIS re­fusal to toe his par­ents’ line had ter­ri­ble con­se­quences, Zakes says. He al­leges his fa­ther’s body­guards at­tacked and threat­ened him. Thembi and her baby re­turned to live in the Moy­anes’ house when the lit­tle boy was three months old.

When she re­turned to school the Moy­anes of­fered to care for the baby while she stayed at her mom’s house. She’d be al­lowed to see her son at week­ends.

When the baby was four months old, Zakes took him to visit Thembi and her mom one week­end. His fa­ther’s body­guards drove them and he was sit­ting in the back seat with his son.

“I was hold­ing my son and my back­pack was on the floor,” he re­calls. “One of the body­guards grabbed my bag and took out a cell­phone, which they ac­cused me of steal­ing. I hadn’t put the phone in my bag.

“They stopped at a petrol sta­tion on Wil­liam Ni­col Drive and shoved me out of the car,” he al­leges. “A sec­ond car stopped be­hind us and the nanny got out and took the baby from me. They sped off with my child!”

He ap­proached a by­stander at the garage and told him what had hap­pened, and the man drove him to Thembi’s house.

The night be­fore the news of Tom’s al­leged as­sault on Thembi broke in a Sun­day news­pa­per, Zakes al­leges, he was again kicked out of the car by body­guards at a petrol sta­tion, this time on Mal­i­bongwe Drive in Rand­burg.

“My fa­ther was up­set that I’d pro­tected her and that I’d told the po­lice the truth about what hap­pened.

“His body­guards told me I needed to learn a les­son. They punched me in the stom­ach and left me at the garage at 1am. It was freez­ing cold. I didn’t have a phone or money.

“The petrol at­ten­dants be­lieved my story only when the news­pa­pers were de­liv­ered and they saw the ar­ti­cle. One of them let me use his phone to call Thembi.”

He’s been liv­ing with her and her mom since.

When YOU called Tom for com­ment, he asked us to call back. But when we called him at the times he’d set, he didn’t an­swer his phone. Re­peated at­tempts to reach him have been un­suc­cess­ful. He’s pre­vi­ously re­sponded to News24 when the on­line pub­li­ca­tion asked him about the as­sault al­le­ga­tions.

Asked if it was true that he’d “rugby tack­led” the young woman, he laughed, the news site re­ported.

“Rugby tack­led? How big is she? Do you know what a rugby tackle is? Ninja kick? We’ll hear on Fri­day, my dear,” he said be­fore laugh­ing and end­ing the call.

In response to the orig­i­nal Sun­day Times re­port, Tom’s lawyer, Eric Mabuza, said he’d been briefed to act for Moy­ane in his dis­ci­plinary en­quiry over his ac­tions at Sars and wasn’t aware of the as­sault al­le­ga­tions. *Names have been changed to pro­tect the mi­nors men­tioned in this ar­ti­cle.

‘They punched me in the stom­ach and left me at the garage at 1am’

FAR LEFT: Tom Moy­ane’s son, Zakes*, and his girl­friend, Thembi*. They’ve ac­cused Tom of as­sault and say his body­guards mis­treated Zakes on his or­ders.

LEFT: Tom ar­rives at par­lia­ment last year to present the Sars an­nual re­port. ABOVE: Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa re­lieved Tom of his du­ties at Sars in March and the pres­i­dency re­cently an­nounced he faces dis­ci­plinary charges re­lat­ing to al­le­ga­tions of mis­con­duct.

ABOVE: Thembi’s mom, Zinhle, and Tom with their grand­son be­fore the al­leged as­sault. RIGHT: It was love at first sight when Zakes and Thembi met. BE­LOW RIGHT: Zakes has now moved in with Thembi and Zinhle.

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