Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo on Monday played host to a heated cross-examination of Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan by Advocate Dali Mpofu, who was representing former South African Revenue Service (Sars) commissioner Tom Moyane.
At one point during the proceedings at the Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture, Zondo, similar to an annoyed parent, had to instruct Mpofu and Gordhan not to speak over each other as emotions ran high.
Mpofu repeatedly accused Gordhan of “rambling” when answering his questions and requested that the minister provide a “yes or no” response.
Gordhan denied “rambling” and instead told Mpofu that he is not on trial at the inquiry and that Moyane, who has been implicated in state capture, should be made to answer for his alleged involvement.
Zondo granted Moyane leave to cross-examine Gordhan in November last year, following Gordhan’s 2018 testimony to the commission, which implicated Moyane in state capture.
In the fourth hour of the five-hour cross-examination (which was initially scheduled for two hours), Gordhan suggested that Moyane be brought before the commission to be cross-examined regarding his alleged involvement in state capture.
Zondo however noted that Moyane cannot be cross-examined by Gordhan until the minister concludes his testimony.
Mpofu cross-examined Gordhan on whether, in laying criminal charges against Gordhan, Moyane acted maliciously; whether Moyane was motivated wholly or in part by state capture; whether he was abusing a legal process; whether, as Sars commissioner, he sought to advance the state capture project; and whether Moyane’s “personal goals” while commissioner included the advancement of the state capture project.
‘Deliberate’ actions behind deterioration of Sars
In his testimony at the Zondo commission in 2018, Gordhan accused Moyane of deliberately orchestrating the deterioration of Sars. He told the commission that Moyane led a campaign to oust him and former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas as well as senior National Treasury officials in a bid to capture the state.
Gordhan based his allegations against Moyane on, among other things, his experience with Moyane during his tenure as finance minister and the findings of the Nugent Commission of Inquiry into Tax Administration and Governance at Sars.
“In his 2018 report to the president, retired judge Robert Nugent found that [Moyane] arrived [at Sars] without integrity and then dismantled the elements of governance one by one. This was more than mere mismanagement. It was seizing control of Sars as if it was his to have.”
Gordhan said revenue collection dropped steadily during Moyane’s tenure and the entity lost key professional personnel who did not wish to be associated with the developments that were taking place.
Gordhan said that “hostilities” between himself Moyane developed during his tenure as finance minister when he suspected that Moyane had been involved in activities that advance state capture.
Moyane said these “hostilities” stemmed from “five things” including Gordhan’s alleged “arrogance,” “petty jealousy” and “racism”.
Mpofu put it to Gordhan that tensions between him and Moyane were seen when Gordhan excluded the former Sars commissioner from the 2016 post-budget media briefing which is traditionally attended by the commissioner.
Gordhan replied: “I have no recollection of that, chair.”
He denied the allegations, saying: “All of those assertions have no foundation whatsoever. To now throw around notions such as racism and my alleged involvement in corruption is part of the fake news narrative.
“I emphatically deny all of these assertions,” he said.
When asked by Mpofu if he had evidence that Moyane was involved in state capture and whether or not Moyane had frequent meetings with the Hawks and the NPA , Gordhan said: “ “Obviously not, it was a manner of speaking,”