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.”
Not everyone agreed, however.