Suspended SARS commissioner Tom Moyane. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON
Suspended SARS commissioner Tom Moyane. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON

Suspended South African Revenue Service (SARS) commissioner Tom Moyane threatened President Cyril Ramaphosa with court action, accused him of bias and gave him an ultimatum to prevent action against him.

In an angry letter to Ramaphosa, penned by Moyane which the Business Day has seen, the suspended commissioner warns Ramaphosa against suspending or removing him and demands such an undertaking from him. Moyane gave Ramaphosa until 9.30pm on Monday night to give him this undertaking, warning that if the president did not do so he would take him to court.

Ramaphosa apparently did not take kindly to the threat, announcing Moyane’s suspension with immediate effect late on Monday, pending the outcome of a disciplinary process.

“It is indisputable that your conduct is unlawful and unconstitutional in that you have made a decision to dismiss or suspend me without affording me an opportunity to be heard,” Moyane writes in his letter to Ramaphosa.

“I am advised that your conduct invites urgent legal review and would obviously be overturned by the courts.

“In light of the unlawful process adopted by you, I hereby seek an undertaking from you that you will not seek to suspend or dismiss me without due process which includes affording me an opportunity to be heard,” Moyane added.

However, Moyane did acknowledge in the letter that, according to the SARS Act, Ramaphosa has the power to hire and fire the tax agency’s commissioner.

The tone of the letter was clipped and harsh, with Moyane complaining that he has not been given an opportunity to explain his mishandling of the controversy around his former second in charge Jonas Makwakwa.

Bizarrely, Moyane continued to defend his own conduct, saying there was no evidence of a breakdown of the relationship between him and Ramaphosa.

He also accused Ramaphosa of “showing no interest” in his version of events on the Makwakwa matter.

The letter from Moyane explains the harsh tone of Ramaphosa’s suspension letter to Moyane, which ends bluntly with the president effectively saying that he will see Moyane in court.

“Should you insist on instituting legal proceedings, kindly serve any papers filed at the state attorney, Pretoria, for our urgent attention,” Ramaphosa says, ending his suspension letter to Moyane.