Former SA Revenue Service (Sars) commissioner Tom Moyane has argued that he needs to be allowed to cross-examine Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan at the Zondo commission because the minister is corrupt and was involved in a “rogue unit”.
Moyane’s legal representative Advocate Dali Mpofu told the commission that what was crucial about Gordhan’s testimony last year was not what he said, but what he omitted.
Gordhan appeared at the inquiry late last year and spoke on broad issues of corruption in the government but also implicated Moyane. Gordhan said Moyane had lied to Parliament about his involvement in the awarding of a debt collection tender at Sars.
Mpofu said the only way Moyane would be able to defend himself is if he is allowed to cross-examine Gordhan and also provide his own version of events. Mpofu said Gordhan had been hostile to Moyane and was racist toward him. He also argued that the allegations of a rogue unit at Sars need to be heard by the Zondo commission.
Our take chair, given the broad mandate of the commission, if Gordhan as Moyane suggests, was involved in criminal activity around the rogue unit that comes directly to the meat of this commission. State capture is just a phrase that we created, but state capture talks about the creation of a parallel state.
There is no difference in that and setting up a rogue unit which would spy on citizens. it is a parallel state that you are creating and that falls within the mandate of the commission,” said Mpofu.
Mpofu said contrary to what Gordhan would want the commission to believe, that he was against state capture, he, in fact, was a supporter of former president Jacob Zuma.
“Here is the version; Minister Gordhan’s affidavit is more significant about what it omits than what it includes. The omitted facts will give a clear picture of what went on. The truth is that Gordhan was a supporter of President Jacob Zuma and was appointed by him twice in a strategic post,” said Mpofu.
“In his affidavit, he seeks to downplay the history and his role in the cabinet and this calls for exploration. Mr Gordhan had an anti-Moyane bias. There is a transcript of a telephone call which Mr Moyane found to have racist connotations. He says to Mr Moyane “grow up”.
“What we are saying is that Mr Gordhan in the things that he implicates Mr Moyane in, most of them, it amounts to criminal activity. And if that is the case the only way that Mr Moyane can defend his integrity is through cross-examination,” he argued.
Gordhan’s legal representative Advocate Michelle Le Roux argued against Moyane’s application.
Le Roux said Moyane’s arguments to cross-examine were weak and that it was clear that Moyane was trying to reignite his claims of a rogue unit which were already dealt with by the Nugent commission. The Nugent Commission, chaired by retired Judge Robert Nugent, found that there was no evidence of a rogue unit at Sars.
Le Roux said the Nugent Commission had already found that Moyane did lie about his involvement in the Sars debt tender. She argued strongly against commission chair deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo allowing Moyane to delve into issues that had already been addressed. She said if Moyane wants to challenge the Nugent commission’s findings he needs to take the report on review.
“Is it necessary for the commission to go into the issues mentioned in Mr Moyane’s application, and our view is that it is not. The issues dealt with by Mr Moyane are Sars-related issues, he wants to resuscitate the rogue unit narrative. He tried to attribute some motive. The point is all these Sars issues are the work of the completed Nugent commission. Judge Nugent looked at this question of a rogue unit and concluded there was nothing there,” said Le Roux.
Mpofu pushed back on Le Roux’s arguments and said Moyane had every intention of taking the report on review, but the claims of a rogue unit needed to be explored as the court could rule either way on the matter.
Zondo reserved his judgment.