Reports has come to show that the speculation that President Jacob Zuma will fire Pravin Gordhan in a Cabinet reshuffle at the end of January could be related to the finance minister’s professed lack of reliance in South African Revenue Service (Sars) Commissioner Tom Moyane.
Recalling that the Democratic Alliance deputy finance chief Alf Lees, had on Friday said that “Gordhan’s removal might be the end goal here”.
“If Gordhan is not an effective minister of finance – as he does not get cooperation from Sars and others – then how can he actually do the job?
“One might have the possibility where the president says he can’t do the job,” he said. “That would not be a good signal for the economy.”
He was talking to Fin24 after Gordhan criticised Moyane in a written Parliamentary reply on Thursday, saying that he “cannot place great reliance on the information” he receives from the tax collector.
Gordhan was responding to a series of questions from DA MP David Maynier regarding the forensic investigation into suspended Sars chief Jonas Makwakwa.
When asked if Sars has had any meeting with the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC), Gordhan said Moyane had not responded to queries since October 27 2016.
The FIC informed Sars in 2016 that it had found fraud and corruption allegedly involving Makwakwa and his girlfriend Kelly-Ann Elskie.
Gordhan said “To date, apart from the letter dated October 27 2016 from Mr Moyane, where he provided his terms of reference for the law firm Hogan Lovells… to investigate and conduct disciplinary proceedings related to Mr Makwakwa and Ms Elskie, Mr Moyane has not provided any substantive report on this matter”.
“However, Mr Moyane indicated in his letter that the law firm would conclude the first part of the investigation by December 20 2016. By December 22, I had not yet received any such report.”
Gordhan added that he “will not say more on Mr Moyane’s failure to act in terms of the FIC Act and other anti-corruption legislation at this stage”.
“This matter is also subject to legal action as reported in the media (e.g. charges by Corruption Watch).”
David Lewis, executive director of Corruption Watch, laid criminal charges against Moyane in October 2016 in accordance with the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act.
“As an official who holds a position of authority, Moyane is obliged to report knowledge or even mere suspicion of corrupt transactions over R100 000 to the DPCI [Hawks],” Corruption Watch said in October.