Moyane’s struggle is simply for his salary
The cleanup of stateowned entities by President Cyril Ramaphosa has taken on a particular character in that for the first time in a decade, institutions are being placed above individuals.
The SA Revenue Service (Sars) is a prime example. Appearing before the high court this week advocate Dali Mpofu argued in favour of the rights of a “warm body ”— in the form of one Tom Moyane — while advocate Wim Trengove argued in favour of the “public interest”.
Moyane’s only interest is to continue using the state to bankroll his vendetta against Ramaphosa, while the public interest to Mpofu seems to constitute a cold, unknown entity. In reality, the “public interest” represents not one but 50-million “warm bodies”.
Moyane is attempting to have his axing set aside by blocking Ramaphosa from appointing a successor and the Sars inquiry chaired by retired judge Robert Nugent from submitting his report on how to fix the tax agency. It exemplifies the worst excesses of the Zuma regime: self-interest placed above the needs of the country and society as a whole.
A beaming Moyane told broadcasters “fairness” was at the heart of his bid to get his job back, a fairness he did not afford to about 200 Sars senior managers who were displaced during his far-reaching overhaul of the tax agency’s operating model. But this was not about Sars or the country. It was about Moyane and his ego egged on by power-hungry international consultants Bain & Company, who acted as his “executive coach” for a year before he was even appointed Sars commissioner. Mpofu told the court that Moyane did not want to return to his office but would be happy to be reinstated on suspension and “face the music” by subjecting himself to the disciplinary procedure set in motion by Ramaphosa.
What then would motivate Moyane to go through all this trouble?
It is simple. He wants to continue receiving his salary for the remainder of his contract of employment, and he wants Sars to foot the mounting bill for his legal costs as he continues to seek to embarrass Ramaphosa through spurious allegations he has been levelling against the president since his suspension.
Moyane reached retirement age in January 2018. When he left the government as prisons boss before taking up the Sars post, he had in effect been retired early from the state and would have received a healthy pension. His Sars contract was for five years and was set to end in September 2019. What else could he be fighting for so vociferously but to continue to use his post as commissioner to take on the president and embarrass him?
Ramaphosa noted the attacks on him by Moyane in his affidavit in the high court application. “He has repeatedly and with reckless abandon made gratuitous attacks on my dignity and my integrity. He has shown no respect for the office I hold,” he said.
Former president Jacob Zuma’s affidavit in support of Moyane is a further illustration of Moyane’s real motive for subjecting his removal to constant litigation. Zuma said when “he” established the Sars inquiry it was not his intention for it to make “interim” recommendations or to weigh in on employment matters. Ramaphosa described Zuma’s input as irrelevant, a broadside from his predecessor and that he was using the Moyane matter as an entry point.
In any case, Moyane has fought his disciplinary inquiry every step of the way. He is unlikely to subject himself to the charges he faces, even if he is returned to his post by the court. He is more likely to raise further technicalities to avoid being held accountable.
Central to the disciplinary charges is his handling of the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) report on about R1.2m in suspicious and unusual transactions paid into the bank account of his second-incharge, Jonas Makwakwa. The Hawks confirmed this week that they had concluded their probe into the matter and the docket had been handed to the National Prosecuting Authority on November 13. In addition, Hogan Lovells, the law firm Moyane charged with probing the FIC allegations, has thrown him under the bus, calling him a liar when he publicly proclaimed the firm had cleared Makwakwa of all charges.
It is difficult to believe that Moyane would want to face those disciplinary charges. The only explanation for his argument in court this week is that he is once again being dishonest about his true motives. He simply wants to keep the factional flames of his master, Zuma, burning.
Accountability, transparency and ensuring the public interest is upheld are among the pillars of a democratic state. Zuma’s administration sought to pull down these pillars in Samsonlike fashion. He succeeded to the extent that former minions, such as Moyane, still tend to conflate the public interest with their selfish ends.
HE WANTS SARS TO FOOT THE MOUNTING BILL FOR HIS LEGAL COSTS AS HE CONTINUES TO SEEK TO EMBARRASS RAMAPHOSA THROUGH SPURIOUS ALLEGATIONS