In a press statement on Thursday afternoon, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) continued their campaign against Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan and the SA Revenue Service (Sars) commission of inquiry headed by retired Judge Robert Nugent.
The party’s national commissioner, Advocate Dali Mpofu, is representing the suspended Sars boss, Tom Moyane, and he has called for the inquiry to be halted until the disciplinary process against his client has concluded.
Nugent dismissed almost every single one of Mpofu’s concerns, ruling that the inquiry would not be a case of double jeopardy for Moyane, since he is not being personally investigated despite being the focus of much testimony.
The EFF has backed Mpofu’s legal arguments despite officially saying they are against Moyane and want him removed from Sars.
Investigative journalists such as author Jacques Pauw have, however, questioned the apparent conflict of interest that may exist between the EFF and Moyane, primarily through the alleged links between Moyane at Sars and the party receiving money from alleged tax-dodging cigarette smugglers, which they do not deny.
Beyond Moyane, though, at a press conference earlier in July, the EFF criticised Gordhan heavily. They also hit out at some journalists for allegedly being too biased towards Gordhan and President Cyril Ramaphosa.
They continue to maintain that Gordhan and others have a case to answer for themselves at Sars over the so-called rogue investigative unit.
They said: “Gordhan and his henchmen have been at pains to fool the nation into believing his rogue unit never existed” despite, in their view, that an independent investigation found that it did.
Gordhan and others accused of running the unit have, however, never denied its existence, merely that its purpose was legal and that it never broke the law when carrying out what they insist was a proper mandate.
The EFF accuse Ramaphosa of allowing himself to be dragged into Gordhan’s personal battles against Moyane at Sars.
In their statement, they alleged that it was “shocking” that Nugent met with Gordhan prior to the Sars commission kicking off and that the fact of their meeting only became public after it was leaked to the media. Had a similar thing happened between the deputy chief justice and a minister with leaks to the Guptas, the media would have been in uproar, the party added.
The EFF charges that the Gordhan-Nugent meeting could not have been “above board”, as claimed, if it had been a secret.
They demanded to know what was discussed.
They called on Nugent to recuse himself the same way Justice Kate O’Regan had after she was accused of being “conflicted”.
EFF EXPRESSES SHOCK AT UNDISCLOSED PRIVATE MEETING BETWEEN GORDHAN AND JUDGE NUGENT pic.twitter.com/Xh3Uu53w3p
— Economic Freedom Fighters (@EFFSouthAfrica) July 12, 2018