Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan has welcomed a decision by the state capture commission of inquiry to grant former SARS Commissioner Tom Moyane leave to cross-examine him.
The inquiry’s chairperson, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, announced the decision on Monday morning.
In what is seemingly a counter-move, Gordhan said in a statement that he will also apply to cross-examine Moyane at the inquiry.
‘Full version under oath’
Gordhan said he welcomed Zondo’s direction that “Mr Moyane must, finally, produce his full version on oath by 15 January, 2020 on the identified issues.”
He said Moyane had “consistently refused” to testify at the Nugent Commission of Inquiry into SARS and had not yet testified at the state capture inquiry.
The Minister added, “Today’s ruling by the Deputy Chief Justice is a welcome opportunity for Mr Moyane to explain why he should not be held accountable for the “massive failure of integrity and governance at SARS” and the “reckless mismanagement on the part of Mr Moyane” that the Nugent Commission established, occurred under his tenure.
“Minister Gordhan’s counsel will similarly apply to the Chairperson of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into State Capture to cross-examine Mr Moyane.”
Gordhan-Moyane legal tussle
The legal tussle between Gordhan and Moyane stems from the latter’s decision to lay criminal charges against Gordhan in 2016.
The matter related to Gordhan’s approval of the early retirement of former acting SARS Commissioner Ivan Pillay. Gordhan was formally charged, but the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) withdrew the case in October 2016.
In his testimony at the state capture inquiry in 2018, Gordhan claimed that in laying the charges, Moyane had acted maliciously, sought to advance state capture, and abused a legal process.
He further claimed that, as SARS commissioner, Moyane had sought to “advance the state capture project.” Zondo has now granted Moyane leave to cross-examine Gordhan on these claims.
Moyane’s lawyer, Eric Mabuza, welcomed the decision, as did Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Deputy President Floyd Shivambu.
He tweeted, “Right direction – but why does the commission prescribe questions on what Pravin must be asked about? Does it happen with all other people who are cross examined?”
EFF is engaged in an apparent political battle with Gordhan. Its national chairperson, Advocate Dali Mpofu, is also in Moyane’s legal team.