Cyril ups the ante
President Cyril Ramaphosa has effectively dared suspended SARS commissioner Tom Moyane to take him to court – and refused almost all of the tax boss’s demands about his upcoming disciplinary inquiry.
Ramaphosa has flatly refused to fund Moyane’s legal costs in fighting to keep his job – on the basis that “SARS has no policy authorising the legal funding of an employee in disciplinary inquiries”.
And‚ in a letter written by the state attorney‚ he has slammed Moyane for trying to dictate the process to be followed in the inquiry against him.
He has also suggested that the commissioner, in demanding that Ramaphosa testify against him, is pushing for a “process akin to a criminal trial”.
Ramaphosa has made it clear that he regards the inquiry into Moyane’s conduct as urgent, particularly given the critical revenue collection role of SARS.
But the president has also not ruled out the possibility that he will take the stand against Moyane‚ who is facing 12 charges of misconduct.
Moyane’s lawyers are adamant Ramaphosa must take the stand‚ as he is Moyane’s main accuser‚ and have dismissed any suggestion that the process can be decided solely on the basis of written submissions.
In a letter from the state attorney’s office‚ Ramaphosa has denied that such a process would be unfair.
Should there be major disputes of fact between Moyane and Ramaphosa‚ the state attorney has indicated that the inquiry can be referred to oral evidence.
In other words‚ Ramaphosa has not refused to testify.
Whether he does so or not will have to be decided by former Constitutional Court Justice Kate O’Regan‚ who is presiding over the inquiry. Ramaphosa‚ meanwhile‚ has made it clear that he is not happy that details of his private and confidential conversation with Moyane – during which he reportedly shouted at the tax boss – have emerged in the media.
But he also says any impression that he has made up his mind about dismissing Moyane is unfounded.
It is unclear if and when Moyane will now head to court. His lawyer‚ Eric Mabuza‚ could not be reached for comment.