The chairperson of the commission of inquiry into state capture, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, has dismissed sacked SA Revenue Service (Sars) commissioner Tom Moyane’s application to cross-examine Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan.
However, Zondo reserved his judgment on one wish, which he said in the next few days he would give direction for the two parties to give clarity.
Moyane applied for leave to cross-examine Gordhan at the commission after the latter implicated him in his testimony last year. Gordhan is opposing the application on the grounds, among others, that Moyane was advancing the Economic Freedom Fighters’ (EFF’s) political campaign against him.
Zondo cited rule 3.3, which requires the commission’s legal team to notify persons within a reasonable time before the witness gives evidence who may be implicated by the witness and that, in, accordance with rule 126.96.36.199 the implicated party may, if they wish, within two weeks from the date of notice, apply in writing to the commission for leave to cross-examine the witness.
The commission’s chair further said an applicant seeking to cross-examine a witness should meet the requirements of rules 3.4, 3.6 and 3.7 of the commission’s rules.
Rule 3.4 reads: “An application in terms of Rule 3.3.6 above must be submitted in writing to the Secretary of the Commission with fourteen calendar days from the date of the notice referred to in Rule 3.3. The application must be accompanied by a statement from the implicated person responding to the witness’s statement in so far as it implicates him or her. The statement must make it clear what parts of the witness’s statement are disputed or denied and the grounds upon which those parts are disputed or denied.”
Rule 3.6 reads: “In deciding an application contemplated in Rule 3.3.6, the Chairperson may, in his discretion and on such terms and conditions as he may deem appropriate, grant leave to an implicated person: (a) to give evidence; (b) to call a witness to give evidence on his behalf and/or (c) to cross-examine the witness implicating him or her.”
Rule 3.7 reads: “In accordance with Regulations 8(3), there is no right to cross-examine a witness before the Commission but the Chairperson may permit cross-examination should he deem it necessary and in the best interests of the work of the Commission to do so.”
Zondo said that in his application to cross-examine Gordhan, there were a few areas it was shown that Moyane may have been implicated in Gordhan’s evidence.
The commission’s chair said Moyane did, however, not adequately respond to those parts of Gordhan’s statement which implicated him.
“One struggles to say which part of Mr Gordhan’s statement the applicant denies or disputes,” Zondo said.
Advocate Dali Mpofu appeared for Moyane during the application.
During the application, Mpofu read Moyane’s affidavit: “My version is that Minister Gordhan’s affidavit is more significant for what it omits than what it says. The omitted facts will give a truer picture of what went on behind the scenes in the state capture project. The truth was that Mr Gordhan was an ardent supporter of [former president Jacob] Zuma and was in fact twice entrusted by him into what is according to Gordhan himself, the most strategic ministry in the state capture project.
“We seek to demonstrate that the level of acrimony, hostility, and anger harboured by Mr Gordhan towards me [sufficiently disqualifies] him as an impartial commentator on any of these issues. The documented and unchallenged history of racist and abuse of power in the hands of Mr Godhan will be provided in these proceedings.”
Moyane had argued that he did not form the infamous Sars “rogue unit” outside the parameters of the law, neither did he improperly participate in the awarding of a multimillion-rand tender to a company belonging to his friend Patrick Monyeki, nor did he lie to parliament, as accused by Gordhan.
“I deny these accusations and will accordingly put questions to Gordhan on what I said in parliament. In this regard, I will demonstrate that this is a case of deflection because it is Gordhan himself who secured [multibillion-rand] IT contracts without following proper procedures.”
In his application, Moyane had raised five “cross-examination themes” which he sought to interrogate Gordhan.
(Additional reporting, African News Agency.)