Moy­ane’s strug­gle is sim­ply for his salary

Business Day - - Front Page - NATASHA MARRIAN ● Marrian is po­lit­i­cal edi­tor.

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.


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