The fightback is in full swing.
Tom Moyane, commissioner of the South African Revenue Service (Sars), is in the crosshairs of a concerted resistance campaign, which seeks to cripple the Praetorian guard protecting and acting on President Jacob Zuma's behalf in the increasingly complicated and dangerous battle for the state and its resources, according to three senior sources in the civil service.
Tom Moyane . . . is in the crosshairs of a concerted resistance campaign which seeks to cripple the Praetorian guard protecting and acting on President Jacob Zuma's behalf
He is the focus of a campaign by pockets of resistance in certain arms of state and the groundwork is already being prepared for an offensive that seeks to force him from his position as commissioner. The campaign's tactic is centred around forcing every morsel of information into public view by way of the courts, as with Shaun Abrahams, the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP).
The campaign is being driven by senior civil servants -- most, but not all, loyal members of the African National Congress (ANC) -- that have been caught in the crossfire between Pravin Gordhan, Minister of Finance, and Zuma.
The campaign's tactic is centred around forcing every morsel of information into public view by way of the courts, as with Shaun Abrahams.
An insider with extensive knowledge of machinations under way, says Moyane has found nothing on Gordhan.
"While he's running around looking to nail Gordhan, Sars have come in billions of rands short on tax revenue and we'll fork out more than R170-billion merely to service the interest on our foreign debt. Where are their priorities?"
Another source, with first-hand knowledge of discussions in Gordhan's inner-circle, says Moyane is considered Enemy Number One and an unabashed "agent" for Zuma. "The struggle between Gordhan and Moyane is extremely vindictive, with Moyane not invited to either the tabling of the Budget in February or the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) in October."
Moyane, along with Abrahams, and Berning Ntlemeza, commander of the elite crimebusting unit the Hawks are considered by resistance campaign to be the tip of Zuma's spear –- Moyane gunning for Gordhan, Abrahams managing the so-called "spy tapes", issue and Ntlemeza providing the muscle.
Abrahams will this week defend his suitability for the position of NDPP after an application was brought to the North Gauteng High Court to have him suspended from his position. Ntlemeza averted a similar application this year. The Hawks, however, might still be sued for the wrongful persecution of Robert McBride, head of the Independent Policie Investigation Directorate (IPID).
Moyane has been champing at the bit to find dirt on Gordhan and is personally overseeing Project Lion, an investigation conducted by the audit firm Grant Thornton into contracts Sars entered into during Gordhan's years as commissioner. He is specifically targeting contracts pertaining to the modernisation of Sars's information systems and the buying of technology to enable its e-filing application.
According to a well placed source close to Gordhan, Grant Thornton is struggling to find what Moyane is after, and Moyane has apparently begun to force former employees with deep knowledge of the e-filing contracts to co-operate with the investigation. Some of these, including former top Sars officials now employed by the private sector, have refused to assist Moyane.
Moyane has been champing at the bit to find dirt on Gordhan and is personally overseeing Project Lion, an investigation conducted by the audit firm Grant Thornton into contracts Sars entered into during Gordhan's years as commissioner.
The same source said Gordhan was apparently furious that his efforts to calm foreign investors since he was reappointed finance minister in December last year were scuttled by political interference at national treasury, with the ratings agency Moody's expected to announce a downgrade of South Africa's investment grade status on Friday.
The bigger agency to watch out for, however, is Standard & Poor's, who will make their determination on 2 December. A downgrade will see South Africa's status being relegated to junk. Ratings agencies told government in June it needs to bring policy certainty, reign in spending and implement structural reforms. Gordhan's advisers say government hasn't done nearly enough and blame this on the continued assault on treasury.