EFF leader Julius Malema unexpectedly came out to lend his support to the legal complaints raised by suspended head of the SA Revenue Service (Sars) Tom Moyane.
He famously called Moyane “Zuma’s nanny” in 2016 because he had allegedly taken care of then president Jacob Zuma’s children in Mozambique. The EFF has also criticised Moyane for his alleged links to the Guptas.
Moyane’s legal representative now happens to be Malema’s EFF colleague Dali Mpofu, who is also the party’s chairperson. Mpofu was criticised on social media for taking the case and Malema told journalists at the time of the announcement that their organisation did not agree with Mpofu representing Moyane.
However, Malema added that Moyane had a right to legal representation and that if it was unethical for Mpofu to represent Moyane, then it was unethical for any advocate to represent the suspended Sars boss.
During the commission investigating Sars on Friday, Mpofu told retired Judge Robert Nugent that an inquiry into the operation of the agency should be halted pending a disciplinary hearing against his client.
Mpofu told the commission led by Nugent into lax tax administration and governance at Sars since 2014 that “a matter cannot be tried twice for the same offence”.
Five Sars officials testified before the commission on Wednesday – one of them still working for the service while four resigned at various stages during Moyane’s tenure. They painted a negative picture of his leadership at the revenue collector.
Mpofu said those who testified were a string of disgruntled people and that some of whom were part of a so-called “rogue unit” said to have operated illegally at Sars.
“Everyone who sat on this chair has gone on about the terrible Moyane,” Mpofu said, lambasting the inquiry for not inviting Moyane to defend himself. “It is the most grossest [sic] and unfair processes in the democracy.”
He said the inquiry should not treat Moyane differently because he had been suspended.
“He is not fired, he is not guilty until proven otherwise,” he said, adding that Moyane might return to his position.
Mpofu also called for the removal of Michael Katz from the inquiry, saying he was friends with Ramaphosa, who had suspended Moyane and had legally represented Ramaphosa in a previous case.
Nugent told Mpofu he was only responsible for one inquiry.
“I don’t know why there are two separate tribunals, and I’m not interested,” he said. “I have accepted the proclamation that I must do this work and do it by November.”
A visibly annoyed Nugent refused to accept a memory stick from Mpofu apparently containing evidence that contradicted what witnesses had told the hearing.
Nugent emphasised that the inquiry was not a trial and he was not making findings against any individual.
“We are finding facts to report to the president and what he does with them is up to him,” he said.
A preliminary report into the inquiry is expected in September with the final version due in November.
Malema weighs in
However, Mpofu does appear to have won over at least one person with some influence. Malema said on Twitter that he was not impressed with what he called the “mob” reorganising itself around the Sars inquiry.
Malema said he wanted Moyane to leave Sars, but proper processes would need to be followed.
“The mob is reorganizing itself around
#SARSInquiry #TomMoyane #JonasMakwakwa because people they don’t like are giving their side of the story today. I want #TomMoyane gone but not through unfair politically motivated processes masquerading as law or legal processes.”
The mob is reorganizing itself around #SARSInquiry #TomMoyane #JonasMakwakwa because people they don’t like are giving their side of the story today. I want #TomMoyane gone but not through unfair politically motivated processes masquerading as law or legal processes.
— Julius Sello Malema (@Julius_S_Malema) June 29, 2018
Not everyone agreed, however.
The EFF's chair, courtesy of whatever Tom Moyane has told him, has offered very little to indicate that the process is "politically motivated". But the party can bat for anyone it wants, I suppose.
— Pieter Du Toit (@PieterDuToit) June 29, 2018
I do not even get what Dali Mpofu is trying to get at with this supposed unfairness. What is stopping #TomMoyane from giving his side of the story as he has been given an open platform to do so. He could even ask #JonasMakwakwa to go vouch for him.
— Ongama Dlabantu (@OngamaDlabantu) June 29, 2018
Lol these guys were calling Tom Moyane a Gupta puppet now all of a sudden they are defending him ????????
— vote PAC not EFF???????? (@Mzeecapo261) June 29, 2018
My CIC it looks like you're beginning to lose sight, Tom must face the music without your defense, if you don't have anything to say just shush. Let's rather talk about the corruption that's taking place in Venda at the expense of the poor.
— Sophia Nkosi (@nkosisb222) June 29, 2018
EEF is confusing me, I don't know or is because Dali must make some income with representing ppl who drained our country or all politicians are the same wolf in a sheep skin. Confused for dayz
— Winnie Mandela Generation (@JacquieTK) June 29, 2018
Just because Moyane is defended by an EFF member all of sudden people will be seen wallowing in his corner. Invite or no invite, Dali or no Dali truth of the matter is that Thomas Moyane purged workers at SARS and costed Sars R142b. He was deployed by Zuma to go shield criminals.
— Seaparankwe (@thulanikoti) June 29, 2018
Juju sometimes you are like a supporter of a soccer team and not a fair observer of football. What do you say to Mpofu talking about pain suffered by Moyane when lots of people suffered pain because of Moyane.
— LehlohonoloM (@realHlonza) June 29, 2018