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23 June 2017 19:20 (South Africa)
South Africa

Analysis: Tom Moyane, Zuma’s kingpin

  • Marianne Thamm
    marianne-thamm.jpg
    Marianne Thamm
  • South Africa
Photo: SARS Commissioner Tom Moyane (GCIS)

SARS Commissioner Tom Moyane’s name crops up in the strangest places. Like a latterday Leonard Zelig, the character in Woody Allen’s 1983 mockumentary who takes on the characteristics of powerful personalities who surround him, Moyane too has been a key figure linked to some of the most breathtaking events that have occurred under President Jacob Zuma’s watch. It was Moyane who chaired the 2011 adjudication committee which awarded the tender – later declared invalid – to Cash Paymaster Services. It was also Moyane (as well as Minister Bathabile Dlamini) who dismissed committee member and Treasury official Wiseman Mathebula’s early concerns about CPS’s BEE credentials. Moyane, it appears, is a quiet kingpin in Zuma’s tight band of protectors. By MARIANNE THAMM.

While we’re talking White Monopoly Capital, let’s just agree that CPS is an exemplary specimen of exactly this. The company does not fit anyone’s idea of “radical economic transformation”, even by the DA’s mild standards.

On Friday, a full bench of the Constitutional Court will rule and finally put to rest (for now) the critical issue of who will continue to pay 17-million social grants on April 1 and how this can be done within the country’s legal framework. In the three years since the Constitutional Court’s ruling in 2014 that the CPS contract was invalid, Sassa was meant to have established capacity to take the task “in-house”.

But a picture is increasingly emerging of Minister Bathabile Dlamini, key Sassa officials who acted as her “points people”, as well as various advisers appointed by the minister and who later headed “work streams” doing either nothing to make it happen or everything to ensure that in the end – with an “AK47” at the head of the Constitutional Court – that CPS could continue to hold the fate of 17-million of the country’s most vulnerable citizens in its grubby hands.

This in spite of concerns voiced early in the bidding process on November 8, 2011 for the toe-curlingly lucrative R10-billion contract to pay out social grants, about CPS’s black empowerment preferential point system.

It was committee member and Treasury official Wiseman Mathebula, amaBhungane reported, who had met with Moyane three days before Moyane, who chaired the adjudication committee, had announced dates for the final meeting that was to take place on November 25. Mathebula was unable to attend this meeting and met with Moyane to raise, once again, his concerns about CPS’s black empowerment component.

The tender record, amaBhungane found, indicated that Moyane at the November 25 meeting had told the committee, “I got a call from the minister [Dlamini], really unhappy: ‘Is this [adjudication] meeting going to be postponed?’ And I said: ‘Minister, this meeting is taking place.’”

Moyane had also informed committee members that he had viewed the issues with regard to BEE and raised by Mathebula as “really not serious questions that could have led us to postpone the discussions”.

Put that in your mouth and savour it – “really not serious questions”.

This from a man whose senior manager, Luther Lebelo, does work in his personal capacity on the side for Mzwanele Manyi’s Gupta-sponsored Progressive Professionals Forum and who, in a letter to Business Day in November 2016, described credit rating agencies as “CIA-organised gangs”.

And while we are on White Monopoly Capital, let’s mention Grindrod Bank which currently manages the Sassa payments to 10-million of its debit card holders “in close association with CPS”. Remgro is a major shareholder in Grindrod. These are some of the real and not alternative facts of the matter, but this means nothing to the ANC Youth League and ANC Women’s League (headed by Dlamini), those champions of “radical economic transformation”.

Why let facts get in the way of a good narrative?

Just the other day Manyi, speaking at an ANCYL meeting in Durban, told a captive (so to speak) audience, There are defective procurement policies which by their very nature ensure that the status quo remains.”

You don’t say.

But back in 2011 and in spite of Mathebula’s valid concerns, the contract was awarded by the committee to CPS that January. Ultimately it was precisely these red flags which led to the 2014 Constitutional Court ruling that the award of the tender to CPS had been irregular. It was a ruling that is regarded as a landmark with regard to holding private companies to the same standards of transparency and accountability as the state.

Moyane, who has known Zuma since he went into exile in Mozambique in 1976, was also one (the only one not linked to intelligence services) of a four-member “investigating team” that probed a “national security incident” in 2013 when a private Jet Airways charter flight JAI 9000 carrying a merry cargo of wedding guests for the lavish wedding of Vega Gupta and Aakash Jahajgarhia winged its way into one of the country’s strategic entry points, Air Force Base Waterkloof. The Gupta family, peculiarly, were never interrogated.

It was former chief of state protocol, Bruce Koloane, who took one for Zuma in this case. He pleaded guilty, was demoted, but was later packed off to a key diplomatic post in Europe. All of the participants in the Guptagate scandal, as it came to to be known, were later rewarded with cushy jobs, including Moyane, who was appointed as Commissioner of SARS in 2014.

In the hot seat here, Moyane too has played a central role not only in laying a charge against Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan with regard to “rogue unit” allegations but also in what appears to be an attempt to cover up, until reports emerged in the media, that his No 2 and most senior executive, Jonas Makwakwa, had been flagged for “irregular deposits” amounting to R1.1-million into his personal bank account as well as that of Makwakwa’s girlfriend Kelly-Anne Elksie. Moyane was informed by the Financial Intelligence Centre, which had flagged the transactions in May 2016 but not only sat on the report, but shared it with Makwakwa. For this Moyane is being charged by Corruption Watch.

One of the companies linked to the chain of payments into Makwakwa’s account is linked to ANC benefactor and IT specialist, Patrick Monyeki, who served as an IT technical adviser in Sassa’s bid evaluation committee. (See amaBhungane’s Sassa catch-up).

Monyeki, amaBhungane found, “also emerged as a shareholder in Sasstec, the security and IT group that includes Integritron Integrated Solutions and SA Fence & Gate, both companies involved in tender controversies with the prisons service”.

Before he ended up in the SARS hot seat, Moyane was National Commissioner of Correctional Services.

Also on Moyane’s watch as SARS Commissioner was the revelation that his nephew, Nhlamulo Ndhlela, was linked to a R220-million tax collection contract with SARS. Ndhlela is a shareholder of the company Lekgotla Trifecta Consortium (LTC) which won the bid.

In a statement issued after the media had revealed the familial link SARS claimed “Sars was not aware of the relationship and instituted an investigation into the tender award. The SARS investigation revealed that LTC failed to disclose the relationship between one of its shareholders, Nhlamulo Ndhlela, and the commissioner on the required National Treasury mandatory declaration of interest form, despite the form specifically requesting such disclosure.”

The award with Moyane’s nephew’s company was subsequently terminated.

SARS under Tom Moyane is seldom out of the headlines but mostly for all the wrong reasons. There’s the massive restructuring which has led to an exodus of experienced staff, there’s the reported under collection of R30-billion as Gordhan reported in his Budget speech, there are charges by the South African Clothing And Textile Workers Union that SARS is killing the industry as it fails to stop illegal imports.

On Tuesday, at Treasury’s presentation on Sassa to Scopa, Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan warned about the use of “slogans” – White Monopoly Capital and Radical Economic Transformation being the obvious two although Gordhan did not mention these specifically.

It [slogans] can mask a lot of things, as you are now discovering,” he said with an enigmatic but knowing smile. DM

Photo: SARS Commissioner Tom Moyane (GCIS)

  • Marianne Thamm
    marianne-thamm.jpg
    Marianne Thamm
  • South Africa

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