POLITICAL WEEK AHEAD
POLITICAL WEEK AHEAD: Jacob Zuma’s arms deal court challenge and key Sars inquiry report due
Retired judge Robert Nugent, who headed the Sars inquiry, has to hand over his final report by Friday
Several high-profile court cases, including that of former president Jacob Zuma, and the final report into the commission of inquiry into the SA Revenue Service (Sars) are due this week.
Retired judge Robert Nugent, who headed the Sars inquiry, has to hand over his final report by Friday. Nugent’s interim report has already led to Tom Moyane’s axing as Sars commissioner, following his recommendation to President Cyril Ramaphosa.
The president acknowledged in the letter of termination that Nugent’s interim report, painted a “deeply concerning picture” of the current state of the tax agency.
Nugent’s interim report states that Moyane’s entry into Sars had been a “calamity” for the institution, and the tax agency environment during his tenure was characterised by fear, distrust and intimidation.
Moyane however will argue in the high court in Pretoria on Wednesday to interdict Ramaphosa from appointing his successor and ask the court to reverse his firing.
The embattled former tax boss wants to remain suspended with pay, pending the outcome of a Constitutional Court bid to halt either his disciplinary hearing or the Sars commission of inquiry.
Ramaphosa, who suspended him in March, flatly refused to reinstate Moyane in a letter handed to him earlier in November.
Meanwhile, Zuma is expected back in the high court in Pietermaritzburg on Friday.
Zuma and his co-accused, French arms company Thales, have submitted an application for a permanent stay of prosecution.
Thales is accused of conspiring with Zuma’s former financial adviser Schabir Shaik, his Nkobi Group and the former president to pay him R500,000 a year as a bribe in exchange for protection during an investigation linked to the arms deal.
It has been more than a decade-long battle for Zuma, who has been trying to avoid facing corruption charges. The charges were withdrawn against Thales and Zuma in 2009, just before he became president of the country. In 2017 the Supreme Court of Appeal overturned the decision to withdraw the charges against Zuma after he conceded that it was irrational to withdraw them.
On Monday, the state capture commission of inquiry will continue with testimony of Phumza Macanda, former chief director of communication from the Treasury. Former government spokesperson Mzwanele Manyi is also expected to be cross-examined.
Manyi appeared at the inquiry earlier in November, after being subpoenaed over a text message he sent acting government spokesperson Phumla Williams during her testimony, asking her to change the evidence she had given.
He said he also wanted to give his version of what happened at the Government Communications and Information System when he was appointed CEO.
Williams had testified that he had collapsed the established government processes and directed funds to Gupta media entities.
In parliament this week bills related to the medium-term budget policy statement, and adjusted budget, are among key issues scheduled for plenary sittings of the National Assembly and National Council of Provinces.