Minister Pravin Gordhan welcomed the decision by the Zondo Commission to grant former SARS commissioner Tom Moyane the right to cross-examine him. Picture: Ntswe Mokoena/GCIS

Cape Town - Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan on Monday welcomed the decision by the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into the state capture scandal to grant former South African Revenue Service (SARS) commissioner Tom Moyane the right to cross-examine him and said he would request permission to cross-examine Moyane in turn.

Moyane will cross-examine the minister on Gordhan's suggestion that he was politically motivated and malicious when he laid criminal charges against Gordhan relating to the early retirement and subsequent reemployment on a contract basis of deputy SARS commissioner Ivan Pillay in 2010, as well as the establishment of an intelligence-gathering unit within the revenue service.

Moyane was also granted permission to question Gordhan on his allegations that during his tenure at SARS he supported the state capture project, which saw billions of rands looted from the state by politically connected individuals.

Gordhan was briefly charged in 2016 while serving as finance minister in the Cabinet of then president Jacob Zuma. The charges were widely seen as politically motivated and were withdrawn soon afterwards.

Gordhan's political foes have repeatedly returned to the allegations that underpinned the charges, and he is currently fighting adverse findings by Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane with regard to his approval of Pillay's early retirement in court.

Moyane approached the Zondo commission in March and asked that he be allowed to question Gordhan because, he argued, the allegations the minister made against him in his testimony were unfounded. The request was denied at the time, partly on the basis of clarity, but has now been granted following further presentations by Moyane to the commission.

Judge Raymond Zondo attached a condition to permission to cross-examine Gordhan in the Moyane must also submit to the commission his own affidavit in response to the allegations made by the minister.

Gordhan welcomed this.  

"Minister Gordhan welcomes the direction from the chairperson that Mr Moyane must, finally, produce his full version on oath by 15 January 2020 on the identified issues," his office said in a statement. 

The ministry pointed out that Moyane refused to testify before the Nugent Commission of Inquiry into SARS, dealing with administrative issues while he headed the revenue service, and has not testified before the Zondo Commission.

It said Gordhan would apply to the commission for permission to question Moyane.

"Minister Gordhan’s counsel will similarly apply to the Chairperson of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into State Capture to cross-examine Mr Moyane."

African News Agency (ANA)