Public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan at the state capture inquiry. Picture: VELI NHLAPO
Public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan at the state capture inquiry. Picture: VELI NHLAPO

The dance between advocate Dali Mpofu and minister Pravin Gordhan before the state capture inquiry was something to behold.

The long-awaited cross-examination of Gordhan by former SA Revenue Service (Sars) commissioner Tom Moyane was always going to be fiery. But it was even spicier with Mpofu — the former EFF chair, whose party has declared Gordhan its No 1 opponent — in the driving seat.

The six-hour entanglement between the pair yielded little new: Gordhan did admit, however, that he had no hard proof back in 2018 for his assertion that Moyane had "captured" Sars.

Of course, there is now ample proof of Moyane’s dubious dealings with consultants Bain & Co to "repurpose" the tax agency before the Sars inquiry, headed by retired judge Robert Nugent. But Nugent’s final report was released after Gordhan’s initial testimony before deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo and therefore could not be referenced. In the end, there were no winners between the brawling counsel and his mean-spirited opponent. It was a churlish display of pettiness, bullying and unprofessionalism not witnessed before in an inquiry that, frankly, has seen it all. Mpofu was cruel and snide; Gordhan evasive and obdurate. The result? The real devil, Moyane, came off looking like a saint.

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