20/11/2018 SOUTH AFRICA- Johannesburg. Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan take a stand at state capture inquiry. Picture: Dimpho Maja/Africannewsagency (ANA)

Johannesburg - Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan on Tuesday gave more damning evidence.

He told the Zondo Commission of Inquiry how axed South African Revenue Service (Sars) boss Tom Moyane refused to account to him over dodgy activities while enjoying the protection of former president Jacob Zuma.

This as it emerged that Zuma filed an affidavit in the Constitutional Court on Monday in support of Moyane's application to set aside a recommendation for the firing of the former Sars commissioner by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Gordhan accused Moyane of defiance and of being part of co-ordinated attacks against him, which led to the deterioration of their relationship while he was finance minister.

On Monday, Gordhan detailed how Zuma pushed for Moyane to be appointed as Sars commissioner in 2014 - outside of a process that was already under way.

On Tuesday, Gordhan said that despite Sars being accountable to the Finance Ministry as an institution, Moyane had snubbed him when he was reappointed to the post.

“Moyane made serious allegations against me and refused to accept that, as finance minister, he was accountable and answerable to me for the performance of Sars. However, the former president (Zuma) did nothing to intervene in this deteriorating relationship, to facilitate adjudication of the dispute or to resolve it in any other less formal way,” Gordhan said.

Moyane lodged an application to the Constitutional Court soon after retired judge Robert Nugent rejected his bid to stall the hearings of his commission, set up by Ramaphosa to investigate governance and administration issues at Sars. He also lodged a legal challenge against the disciplinary hearings chaired by advocate Azhar Bham.

Earlier this month, Ramaphosa endorsed Nugent's recommendation to fire Moyane.

Nugent, in his interim report to Ramaphosa in September, said Sars under Moyane failed to deal with those who were not tax compliant and added “measures to counter criminality have been compromised and those who trade illicitly in commodities like tobacco operate with little constraint”.

“The day Moyane took office was a calamity for Sars. Almost immediately, and then continuously for the next 18 months, Sars was thrown into turmoil, with tragic consequences for the lives of many people, tragic consequences for the reputation of Sars, and tragic consequences for the country at large,” Nugent said, calling for the immediate removal of Moyane.

In court papers, Zuma said he was in fact the one who took the decision to set up the commission into the tax administration of governance of Sars on the recommendation of then finance minister Malusi Gigaba.

“It was never my intention or within my contemplation that the Sars commission would ever issue interim recommendations before gathering all the evidence, or deal with the employment contracts of individual employees, especially where such contracts were already the specific focus of a separate presidentially initiated process."

Testifying before the commission, Gordhan accused Moyane of refusing to brief him on the changes he was undertaking. “If you are undertaking major changes in the organisation, then you tell the minister that this is what is going on. You must find the first possible opportunity to brief the minister in that regard,” he noted.

He said Moyane was among many other functionaries within the state who were part of an orchestrated campaign to force him, his former deputy Mcebisi Jonas and senior Treasury officials out of government in a bid to capture the state.

“Notwithstanding this campaign to force us to resign, we decided that we would resist and protect the institution,” he said.

Gordhan also weighed on allegations by Jonas that the Guptas had offered him a ministerial post, adding that he was among those who were immediately told by the former deputy finance minister about the move by the family.

“We decided that he was going to keep quiet. We did not want to do anything that would be disruptive or send the wrong signals to the public and investors,” he said. Additional reporting by Baldwin Ndaba

Political Bureau