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Moyane v Gordhan: Racism, perjury and Sars rogue unit in spotlight at Zondo Commission

Former SARS Commissioner Tom Moyane and Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan went head-to-head for a second time at the state capture inquiry. File picture: Phill Magakoe

Former SARS Commissioner Tom Moyane and Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan went head-to-head for a second time at the state capture inquiry. File picture: Phill Magakoe

Published Mar 24, 2021


Johannnesburg - The second round of former SA Revenue Service (Sars) commissioner Tom Moyane's much-anticipated cross-examination of Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan kicked off last night with Moyane's lawyer seeking to clarify a previous ruling made by State Capture Commission's chairperson Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.

But the cross-examination got heated at some point leading to Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo to intervene.

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Gordhan's lawyer advocate Michelle le Roux sought to poke holes in Mpofu's questions on the 30 Sunday Times reports on the unit and its involvement in dubious activities.

She questioned Gordhan on whether he had instructed anyone to bug the NPA offices, former president Jacob Zuma's office, for people to use fake IDs, undertake undercover operations to which Gordhan replied: "No, not my job to do that."

On the 2014 Sekhakhane report, Le Roux asked if Moyane had reviewed the Nugent report tabled by the Nugent Commission.

Gordhan said he was unsure of the report being reviewed.

Mpofu earlier interjected on some of Le Roux's questions saying: "Where I come from re-examination covers the matters that were in the cross-examination. These topics being covered, I don't know where they come from such as the 30 Sunday Times articles. "

Le Roux responded that her question related to Moyane's conduct when he laid charges against Gordhan.

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But Mpofu pressed on his point on the new set of questions by Le Roux saying to Zondo: "All I'm saying that the evidence coming from my learned friend didn't come from the witness ... she's not allowed to lead the witness and must stick to the questions."

Asked by Le Roux if he knew why Moyane appointed KPMG and whether Gordhan was ever interviewed by KMPG, IGA, the Sikhakhane Panel, the joint standing committee on intelligence and standing committee on Finance regarding the investigations into the unit, Gordhan said no.

Matters however got out of hand when Mpofu took exception and wanted to pose a question to Zondo stating that: "Ms Le Roux must shut up while I'm speaking."

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Zondo replied: "No Mr Mpofu, I'm in charge here. I'm still talking.“

Mpofu replied: "Chair maybe we should leave if we aren't going to be allowed to ask questions.“

But Zondo insisted that Mpofu sit down.

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Earlier, cross-examining Gordhan, Mpofu insisted the minister perjured himself on three occasions.

He said Gordhan relied on gossip about Moyane’s alleged involvement in state capture, which got the minister fired from his job and established an intelligence-gathering unit at Sars in violation of the country’s intelligence laws.

Mpofu also told Gordhan that he violated the Prevention of Organised Crime Act (Poca) by failing to report to the police the crime of state capture allegedly committed by Moyane.

“The third criminality is the one we are busy with now, which involves you having knowingly authorised a unit which is in breach of the intelligence legislation in this country. And I am busy with that right now. Do you understand? I am not saying you agree, but do you understand what I am saying?” Mpofu said.

Gordhan denied having acted illegally, saying the reports Mpofu relied upon had been discredited, reviewed and set aside by the courts.

“Firstly, I deny that I perjured myself. Secondly, I think it’s for you as the chair of the commission to decide whether Mr Moyane is finally guilty of state capture or not. I made reasonable inferences at a particular point in time which are fully justified by later developments, and thirdly, the IGI [Inspector General of Intelligence] report as i mentioned earlier is also discredited, reviewed and set aside by a court of law,” Gordhan said.

Last night, Mpofu kicked off the proceedings by quizzing Gordhan about advocate Muzi Skhakhane's 2014 report on the so-called rogue unit that had been unlawfully established at the Sars.

He also delved into the scandalous and vexatious remarks Gordhan had made in his court affidavit against Public Protector advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane.

Mkhwebane had contested in court that Gordhan labelled her as a corrupt, illiterate, rogue, incompetent, irrational, and unreasonable and unfit to occupy the position of the public protector to which Mkhwebane said Gordhan's remarks “do not belong in court papers by a self-respecting member of the national executive”.

“Remember we had our discussion around racism and belittling people in December,” Mpofu said, adding that judges found his remarks (Gordhan's remarks on Mkhwebane) were condescending against an African woman namely Mkhwebane.

A visibly irritated Mpofu emphasised to Gordhan that a full Bench had ordered that he was condescending towards Mkhwebane, to which Gordhan replied: "Not necessarily.”

But Le Roux said Mpofu was deflecting and going back to a conversation on racism that had been previously dealt with.

Mpofu told Zondo that he didn't need Le Roux to lecture him on his line of questioning and that she had to "sit down.”

Meanwhile, the commission earlier in the day heard how a global consulting firm that had a contract with Sars allegedly failed to account for its state of affairs before the Nugent Commission that was chaired by retired Justice Robert Nugent.

In his testimony, Athol Williams, a former partner at the Boston-based firm Bain and Company, told the commission the company was not truthful to South Africa when it was under the spotlight of the Nugent Commission of Inquiry into Tax Administration and Governance.

The company was employed by Moyane to establish a restructuring model of the Revenue Service Division at a cost of R164 million.

Political Bureau