Public Enterprise Minister Pravin Gordhan had met with Judge Robert Nugent prior to the start of the Sars inquiry. Picture: Siphephile Sibanyoni/ African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg - The EFF has called for Judge Robert Nugent to recuse himself from chairing the Sars inquiry after revelations emerged that he had a private meeting with Public Enterprise Minister Pravin Gordhan. It was revealed earlier this week that Gordhan had met with Nugent prior to the start of the Sars inquiry.

Nugent said the meeting was above board and that it was normal as he was communicating with Gordhan as he had been a former Sars Commissioner, News24 reported. Gordhan was the first to testify at the inquiry which was appointed by President Cyril Ramaphosa to investigate governance and administration issues at the agency. 

 A string of other Sars staffers also gave testimony, which has angered suspended Sars commissioner Tom Moyane who claimed he was not given a chance to testify at the hearings. He has called for the commission to be halted and for one of the assistants, Prof Michael Katz, on the commission panel to be removed. 

Moyane is being represented by Advocate Dali Mpofu, the EFF’s national chairperson, who spoke on Moyane's behalf at the inquiry. The requests to halt the hearing were dismissed by Nugent.

The EFF questioned the credibility of the inquiry by coming to Moyane's defence on the fact that he could not be subjected to two inquiries at the same time. Moyane is also facing a disciplinary hearing into his conduct as Sars commissioner.

The party said if the meeting between Gordhan and Nugent was above board, then why did the commissioner not reveal these details before and was forced to do so by the media. "Judge Nugent must recuse himself before anymore of the taxpayer’s money is wasted on a biased commission. 

"The EFF believes that Tom Moyane should be removed from Sars, but like all citizens, guilty or innocent, he must be treated fairly If the government continues to mess up this process by infringing on people's constitutional rights the only outcome will be that his necessary removal will come at a high cost to taxpayers and huge consequences for the poor," said the EFF. 

The Sars inquiry resumes in August.