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
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.