D-day for Moyane as court to decide his fate

Former South African Revenue Services boss Tom Moyane will on Tuesday learn his fate, as the North Gauteng High Court delivers judgment on his bid to have his dismissal overturned.

Last week, the court heard arguments in the case, after the Constitutional Court dismissed his attempt to challenge the validity of the commission of inquiry that recommended his axing.

The Constitutional Court found that Moyane had failed to establish grounds for exclusive jurisdiction. He had directly approached the court to hear the matter.

The case, which lists President Cyril Ramaphosa, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan, and head of the commission of inquiry into SARS, retired judge Robert Nugent as respondents, tests the powers of the inquiry set up by Ramaphosa.

Ramaphosa fired Moyane on November 1, based on the recommendation in a damning interim report from the Nugent commission.

The commission is expected to release its final report by the end of this week.

The principal relief sought by Moyane is to restore the status quo before his dismissal, meaning he would remain on suspension pending the outcome of a disciplinary hearing against him.

This would also mean Ramaphosa could not hire a new permanent SARS commissioner to replace him. 

Judge Hans Fabricius is expected to deliver his ruling on the matter on Tuesday.

However, according to independent Constitutional law expert Phephelaphi Dube, should Fabricius’s decision not be in Moyane’s favour, the 65-year-old could immediately petition the same judge for appeal. 

"There are still several legal avenues where he can seek recourse. If the judge turns down his application, he can petition the Supreme Court of Appeals to hear the matter," said Dube.

The legal wrangle could eventually see him back in the apex court, should the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein not make a ruling in his favour.

Moyane has stated that Ramaphosa violated his rights and acted unfairly by rushing to fire him before his disciplinary process was concluded.

Evidence heard by the Nugent commission, which probed tax administration and governance by SARS, detailed how the critical service was crippled under Moyane’s leadership, affecting revenue collection.

Moyane, appointed by former president Jacob Zuma in September 2014, spearheaded the controversial business model overhaul which was designed by management consulting firm Bain & Company.

The overhaul led to the shutting of key tax collecting units like the Large Business Centre, which was responsible for the collection of tax from large businesses and a unit probing the illicit economy.

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