Moyane admits to Zondo commission that he hasn't read Nugent report

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Former SARS commissioner Tom Moyane.
Former SARS commissioner Tom Moyane.
Masi Losi
  • Former SARS commissioner Tom Moyane told the State Capture Commission that there was a coordinated and political campaign to remove him from the tax body.
  • But he admitted that he hasn't read the report, compiled by the Nugent Commission, which found that Moyane was unfit to lead SARS.
  • Despite the findings of the high court and various investigations, Moyane still insists that SARS housed a rogue unit.

Former South African Revenue Service (SARS) commissioner Tom Moyane returned to the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into State Capture on Wednesday morning to recount his version of events related to conflict with then-finance minister Pravin Gordhan and his own removal from the tax authority.

Moyane slammed Gordhan for "dragging [his] name before the commission with gossip" and claimed that at the heart of the rift between him and the minister was an agenda to remove former president Jacob Zuma from office.

"My removal from SARS was a well-orchestrated process. In 2018, I received word that President [Cyril Ramaphosa] wanted to see me at his private residence. I confirmed my attendance. I later saw articles saying that Gordhan said new leadership was coming to SARS and that my removal was imminent," said Moyane.

Moyane said his meetings with Ramaphosa ahead of his suspension were ominous and, coupled with the media reports of his imminent removal as tax commissioner, a clear indication that he was in the crosshairs.

"There was no discussion about my performance or lack thereof during my meeting with the president. Ramaphosa merely implemented the projected outcome mentioned in the article. Lo and behold, on 18 March, 2018, I was suspended," Moyane said.

He also used the commission to speak about the so-called rogue unit.

A high court ruling and various investigations have now discounted accusations that SARS housed an illegal intelligence unit that spied on people.

But Moyane maintained that he handled reports on the so-called rogue unit appropriately, as he said two individuals who were members of the unit approached him with information on its operations.

'Only death could save them'

"The rogue unit members did approach me. Two of them submitted that there was criminal path from which only death could save them. The confession was elaborate and detailed on how they bugged, intercepted, listened and video recorded activities of the NPA office, leaders of the SAPS and Scorpions in Pretoria in a project code named Sunday Evening.

"These colleagues were instructed by [former SARS deputy commissioner] Ivan Pillay to collaborate with the conspiracy leaders leading the operation. A sum total of one million [rand] was used for this operation," he said.

As the morning session of the hearing progressed, the evidence leader Advocate Alistair Franklin asked Moyane about the findings of the commission of inquiry into the management of SARS, Moyane said he had not read the commission's final report or its preliminary report released in 2018. The report called Moyane's appointment at SARS a "calamity" and found he lacked integrity in his dealings. 

Stunned by Moyane’s admission, Zondo asked Moyane to clarify what he had just said, saying: "I assumed that you were intending to take the report on review or that you were, yourself, reviewing the report when you asked to cross-examine Gordhan."

"When the report was finalised, I met with my counsel. They gave me a summary of what the report was about. I, myself, as Tom Moyane, have not read the report," Moyane clarified.

Moyane told the commission that he didn't appear before the Nugent Commission of Inquiry, chaired by former judge Robert Nugent, because the commission’s timing for hearings clashed with other pressing commitments he had.

Moyane maintained that he never imposed his will upon Zuma to persuade the former president to remove Gordhan as minister of finance. He said his encounters with Gordhan during his time as SARS commissioner were loaded with hostility and micro-aggressions.

Moyane recounted that once in Parliament, ahead of delivering his medium-term budget policy statement, Gordhan shook hands with accounting officers at Treasury and its entities but deliberately spurned Moyane’s outstretched hand. 

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