UPDATE: Moyane to Ramaphosa: Withdraw my termination by Friday

Axed SARS boss Tom Moyane has written to President Cyril Ramaphosa demanding that Ramaphosa withdraw his letter of termination before the end of the week.

In a letter issued via his attorney Eric Mabuza on Tuesday, Moyane gave Ramaphosa a deadline of 12:00 on Friday, November 9, to withdraw the termination and instead return Moyane to being suspended with pay.

Should Ramaphosa fail to meet the deadline, Moyane's attorneys will "institute urgent court proceedings" to declare the president's conduct irrational, unlawful and invalid - and to interdict him from "purporting to receive", accept or implement any recommendations from the Nugent Commission.

"[W]e are instructed to demand, as we hereby do, that you must forthwith withdraw your letter of termination dated 1 November 2018, restore the status quo which obtained before the service thereof (i.e. that our client is suspended with pay pending the outcome of the Disciplinary Inquiry) and duly await the outcome of the pending Constitutional Court application and/or the Disciplinary Inquiry," the letter reads.

'Circuitous, illogical, irrational'

The letter, dated November 5, refers to Ramaphosa's letter to Moyane dated November 1, in which Moyane was fired.

It takes issue with the Nugent Commission – arguing that it acted beyond its mandate in recommending that Moyane be fired, and that Ramaphosa should not have acted on that recommendation.

It also tackles Ramaphosa's argument in his court documents that the relief sought by Moyane in the Constitutional Court had "been rendered moot" by the president's decision to fire him.

Moyane's attorneys say that argument can't hold water if Ramaphosa had had prior knowledge that Moyane would be fired.

That argument is "circuitous, illogical and irrational", the letter reads.

According to the letter from Moyane's attorneys, Ramaphosa's answering affidavit was signed "a miraculous ten minutes after our [Moyane's lawyers'] receipt of the removal letter".

"It should therefore be obvious that the 93-page affidavit was prepared long before the decision to remove (on which it was premised) was made on 1 November 2018. How this kind of contrived mootness is supposed to withstand the scrutiny of a court of law remains a mystery yet to be witnessed.

"Only the wilfully blind can fail to see such blatant obfuscation," the letter says.

'Self-evident irrationality'

"[T]he entire removal letter, read with your affidavit, is riddled with such extreme examples of self-evident irrationality that it is not possible to discern what is essentially sought to be communicated therein," it adds.

It further argues that Ramaphosa did not deal with representations made by Moyane on 26 October, one of which is Moyane's argument that the Nugent Commission overstepped by recommending that he be fired.

According to Moyane's attorneys, the terms of reference of the Nugent Commission do not entitle it to make recommendations midstream or "to make recommendations concerning matters which fall outside its mandate".

"[Y]ou are not entitled to 'accept', as you purport to have done, such recommendations which would be legally non-existent, null and void," Moyane's lawyers tell Ramaphosa.

Moyane's Constitutional Court application could only be considered moot if the SARS Commission is lawfully and properly constituted, i.e. not biased or conflicted; has acted within its terms of reference; has conducted a "proper inquiry; and has "accordingly made legally sustainable recommendations premised on such valid findings", the letter argues.

"[Y]ou [Ramaphosa] nevertheless took your decision to terminate [Moyane's employment] fully knowing that these issues are yet to be determined by the court, one way or the other."

Moyane is entitled to his position until his term expires or he is "lawfully" removed, the letter adds.

The Presidency did not immediately wish to comment on the contents of the letter on Tuesday evening.

Update: This story has been updated at 18:39 to reflect the Presidency's response.

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