Deputy chief justice and chairperson of the commission of inquiry into state capture Raymond Zondo has granted sacked South African Revenue Service (Sars) commissioner Tom Moyane leave to appeal to cross-examine Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan on “certain conditions”.
Zondo is seeking clarification from the minister on whether he was saying that, when Moyane brought charges against him, he had acted with malice.
Zondo had reserved Moyane’s application to cross-examine Gordhan in early October.
“I’m going to reflect on the arguments presented and revert to the parties,” he said at the time.
In 2015, Moyane brought charges against Gordhan relating to the early retirement payout for the tax authority’s former deputy commissioner, Ivan Pillay. The case opened by Moyane was reportedly also used in the investigation of the so-called rogue unit at Sars.
The charges were later withdrawn by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).
Zondo said had Gordhan maintained in his clarifying affidavit that he did not know what was on Moyane’s mind when he brought the charges against him, the hearing would have not been necessary.
Zondo said, however, in consideration that Gordhan stated in his clarifying affidavit that Moyane had abused the legal process in pursuit of advancing the state capture agenda, he would have to consider the application and if all requirements were met, he was inclined to grant leave for Moyane to cross-examine the minister.
“My prima facie view is that in the context of this commission, if you say someone did things to further state capture, that is quite a serious allegation,” Zondo said ahead of arguments.
Back in March, Zondo dismissed an earlier application from Moyane to cross-examine Gordhan and subsequently requested both sides to submit clarifying affidavits.
Moyane was represented by advocate Dali Mpofu, with Gordhan represented by advocate Michelle le Roux.
Zondo said at the time he “may ask the parties to deal with any other issues that may arise when I look at the matter”.
Mpofu argued that there was no doubt that Gordhan implicated Moyane in his testimony at the commission, and that the commission had invited his client because he is an implicated party.
According to Moyane, they received a notice from the commission indicating that Moyane is implicated in relation to alleged tender fraud and lying to parliament.
These allegations implicate Moyane in criminal activity and he should therefore be allowed to cross-examine Gordhan, Mpofu argued.
Gordhan was opposed to Moyane’s application reportedly on the grounds that the former revenue boss is helping advance the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) political campaign against him.
The minister’s opposition to Moyane’s application drew criticism on social media at the time, with Gordhan accused of “wanting to be treated differently” from other witnesses before the commission.
(Compiled by Daniel Friedman. Background reporting, Makhosandile Zulu)