South Africa

Newsflash

Concourt ruling ends Moyane’s legal bids to get SARS job back

Archive: Former South African Revenue Services (SARS) commissioner Tom Moyane during his appearance before Parliament’s finance committee on November 28, 2017 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Gallo Images / The Times / Esa Alexander)

Fired SARS Commissioner Tom Moyane's 'abominable' bid to force the President's hand and get his job back has been smacked down by eight judges of South Africa's apex court marking the end of his legal options to get his job back.

A short judgment from a bench of the Constitutional Court that included Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng suggesting that Tom Moyane’s request was wrong in law:

The Constitutional Court has considered this application for leave to appeal. It concluded that the application should be dismissed as it bears no reasonable prospect of success.”

The judgment, dated 4 February, was only issued on Tuesday, 12 February, and the court did not award costs to any party.

This is the end of the road for Moyane who has fought, based on legal advice from attorney Eric Mabuza and Advocate Dali Mpofu SC, since March 2018 to be reinstated to his job while attempting to stop president Cyril Ramaphosa from appointing a new SARS Commissioner.

Moyane and his lawyers have lost every case they instituted since Ramaphosa suspended Moyane in March 2018. The suspension was primarily based on findings in an investigative series published over 19 months by Daily Maverick’s Scorpio.

Scorpio’s series included how Moyane had decimated SARS’ investigative capacity and pushed out highly skilled officials in favour of lackeys that helped him pay at least R420-million in illegal VAT refunds to the Guptas while stymieing crucial tax investigations into the politically connected. His disastrous tenure at SARS, propped up by consultants at multinational firm Bain & Co, ensured a brain drain that translated into SARS not making target for three consecutive years. (There is a good chance that SARS will, again, not make target this year – a direct hangover from Moyane’s reign.) SARS not making its target directly contributed to the increase in VAT to 15% in 2018.

The Constitutional Court’s judgment follows after Moyane appealed a scathing December judgment from the North Gauteng High court in which his application to get his job back was dismissed and got slapped with a punitive costs order. High Court Judge Hans Fabricius dismissed Moyane’s application to be reinstated in his job, refused to prevent Ramaphosa from appointing a successor and did not halt the Nugent Commission into SARS’ final report.

Fabricius had no kind words for Moyane, labelling his conduct “reprehensible”, his behaviour “abominable” and his application “an abuse of the processes of this court”.

It is clear from my judgment that the conduct of the applicant in these proceedings is particularly reprehensible. It is vexatious and abusive. Both the office of the President and the third respondent (retired Judge Robert Nugent, chair of the Nugent Commission) have been attacked, insulted and defamed without any reasonable cause,” Fabricius found.

Allegations impugning their integrity and character have been made regardless of the objective facts. Insults have been hurled at every conceivable opportunity,” he said.

The ruling by the Constitutional Court means Moyane will never return to SARS again and he has exhausted all the legal avenues in fighting to regain employment.

According to several sources, there was loud cheering and clapping in certain SARS offices across the country when the news reached Moyane’s former colleagues.

This will, however, be bad news for Moyane’s executive committee, whose own jobs have been at risk since his departure.

Moyane was appointed by former president Jacob Zuma in September 2014. DM

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