The tensions between Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and SARS head Tom Moyane have bubbled up yet again following last week’s budget speech.
The two have been at each other for many months and Moyane has now appealed to President Jacob Zuma to intervene.
The SARS commissioner’s latest gripe, which he shared at a press conference on Friday, is that Gordhan – himself a former head of SARS – dared suggest that the R30-billion tax collection deficit was in part a result of Moyane’s administration.
What is clear is that these two men, as the country’s highest-profile individuals when it comes to the management of our public funds, need to resolve their differences, and fast – or the South African economy will certainly pay the price.
It is inconceivable that Moyane, the man in charge of raising the bulk of the country’s revenue, and Gordhan, who oversees the spending of that revenue, should be at such extreme odds.
One cannot see either party budging and we as South Africans have to wonder where it will all end.
Moyane running to number one is unlikely to heal any rifts. On the contrary, since Zuma himself is thought to have been on a long-time mission to remove the thorn that is Gordhan from his side.
The popular finance minister is increasingly appearing to be in the ministry on borrowed time.
Those who want to get their hands on the Treasury will stop at nothing to see him gone.
The pressure on Gordhan has been relentless and, even with much of South Africa rooting for him, one wonders how much more he can take.
The scene is set with Brian Molefe – having left Eskom under a cloud after his cosy dealings with the notorious Gupta family came to light – sworn in at parliament last week.
Speculation remains that the cabinet will be reshuffled to accommodate Molefe who, ethical considerations aside, does not lack the credentials for the top finance job. Should Gordhan be safe for now it could be Mcebisi Jonas, his deputy, who gets the chop.
Jonas earned himself a big target on the back ever since he spoke out against the Guptas. Why are we not surprised that, like Gordhan before him, he too is now a target of the Hawks?