Tom Moyane and the Zuma playbook
The fight between SA’s tax boss and Cyril Ramaphosa is headed to court — and may drag on for some time
President Cyril Ramaphosa’s clash with SA Revenue Service (Sars) commissioner Tom Moyane has entered its next phase, with the release of a charge sheet against the tax boss.
First, a recap: Moyane’s former deputy, Jonas Makwakwa, executed what Business Day euphemistically termed "unusual and suspicious transactions" in his personal bank account. These were discovered by the Financial Intelligence Centre and Makwakwa was suspended — but only after media reports exposed Sars’s inaction on the matter.
Moyane’s response to this grievous abuse of office was that of a snail on Valium. Instead of vigorously exposing and stamping out Makwakwa’s behaviour, Moyane allowed him to return to Sars, where he was free to carry on with his unorthodox, if enriching, interpretation of tax collection.
Ramaphosa indicated in March that he had lost confidence in Moyane. Makwakwa had meanwhile resigned when it was revealed that a Sars service provider was among the companies conducting the "unusual and suspicious" payments into his personal account.
The charges against the Sars commissioner are that he is guilty of misconduct linked to the Makwakwa allegations, that he made unauthorised bonus payments, misled parliament and instructed a Sars official not to co-operate with an inquiry.
In the fine tradition of Jacob Zuma (the former president, for those of you who have forgotten), Moyane plans to go to court to challenge the inquiry.
If he sticks to the Zuma script, he could drag this out for years as the high court, then the constitutional court, weigh in — with multiple procedural appeals along the way. All this legal filibustering will, of course, be funded by the taxpayer.
During these many years of litigation, Moyane will be free to play golf, line up business opportunities and draw his full salary.
I have no evidence that he plays golf or that he lines up business opportunities, but he would be foolish not to, no?
There is the outside chance that, by the time the matter finally makes it to the disciplinary hearing in several years’ time, the ANC regime will have changed again and a more forgiving president might quash the whole thing. That’s justice, SA style.