Moyane would be happy to remain on suspension if reinstated, court hears

Ousted Sars boss Tom Moyane is still fighting to get his job back.
Ousted Sars boss Tom Moyane is still fighting to get his job back.
Image: Esa Alexander

President Cyril Ramaphosa's loss of confidence in Sars boss Tom Moyane was sufficient reason to exercise his executive power to fire him, provided it was rational.

This was at the heart of Ramaphosa’s case before the High Court in Pretoria on Tuesday, where arguments were heard in Moyane’s bid to get his job back.

Moyane’s counsel, Dali Mpofu, told the court that the sacked tax boss wanted to be reinstated - but remain on suspension so that he could “face the music”.

Mpofu said Moyane did not want to “go back to his desk” but was happy to remain on suspension and face a disciplinary inquiry.

This is after Moyane had spent the last nine months avoiding answering directly to any allegations put to him by either the disciplinary process or in the Sars commission of inquiry chaired by retired judge Robert Nugent.

Nugent recommended Moyane’s axing in an interim report to Ramaphosa, saying it was imperative that he appoint a permanent commissioner to begin the renewal process at Sars.

The Nugent inquiry was investigating governance issues at the tax agency, which has been mired in allegations of mismanagement that have deprived the fiscus of billions  that could have been used to fund key services such as health and education.

Sars has had a shortfall of about R100bn since Moyane took over in 2014.

Mpofu said there would be no “inconvenience” to Ramaphosa if he were to reinstate Moyane. 

Kameshni Pillay, for Ramaphosa, said reinstating Moyane would deprive the president of his right to exercise his executive power. She said the appointment of the Sars commissioner - and by extension his removal - was at the discretion of the president.

Judge Hans Fabricius asked whether it was “good enough” for Ramaphosa to contemplate the matter for an hour or so, even in the absence of a report, to determine that he had lost confidence in Moyane, to which Pillay replied “yes”.

Fabricius said he would hand down judgment before December 14, which is the deadline for Nugent to submit his final report to Ramaphosa. 

- BusinessLIVE