20 November 2018

South Africa: Nugent Has No Authority to Recommend Moyane's Firing - Zuma

Former president Jacob Zuma has entered the fray over the firing of South African Revenue Service (SARS) commissioner Tom Moyane, saying Judge Robert Nugent was not asked to deal with the individual contracts of employees at SARS, and therefore could not recommend that Moyane be fired.

Zuma, in an affidavit filed to the Constitutional Court on Monday, confirms that it was he, and not successor President Cyril Ramaphosa, who called for a commission of inquiry into SARS.

The former president agrees with arguments put forward by the current president that Ramaphosa merely implemented the commission.

Earlier this month, Ramaphosa accepted the recommendation of Nugent, who headed up the inquiry, that Moyane be axed.

Nugent's interim report found Moyane did not have the character of a person fit to lead SARS and should be immediately removed from office.

Ramaphosa said Moyane's refusal to contribute to the work of the inquiry had counted against the former tax boss.

Moyane has since moved to fight his dismissal, launching an application to this effect in the Constitutional Court.

"The SARS commission has deviated from its originally intended purpose," said Zuma in his papers.

He also said it was not his "intention" or his "contemplation" that the Nugent commission would release an interim report before gathering all evidence.

Zuma also said the commission should not have dealt with human resource issues as there were processes already in place for that.

"[It was never my intention to imagine that] the SARS commission would ever deal with the employment contracts of individual employees, especially where such contracts were already the specific focus of a separate presidentially initiated process," said Zuma.

Moyane's lawyer, Eric Mabuza, confirmed to News24 that Zuma had filed an affidavit. He said their main argument was that the former SARS commissioner was facing double jeopardy with two processes unfolding against him.

"Not only double jeopardy, now you have a third jeopardy that the issues concerning Moyane are being brought before the Zondo commission, in fact he is facing triple jeopardy now," said Mabuza, referring to the commission of inquiry into state capture that is currently underway.

"We hope that the affidavit will assist the court in arriving at a just decision," added Mabuza.

Source: News24

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