NEWS
09/07/2018 14:29 SAST | Updated 09/07/2018 14:29 SAST

Mabuza On Moyane Standoff: Ramaphosa "Blinked first"

Eric Mabuza says Tom Moyane has been unfairly treated and is being subjected to two inquiries at the same time.

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA  NOVEMBER 28: (SOUTH AFRICA OUT) South African Revenue Services (SARS) commissioner Tom Moyane during his appearance before Parliaments finance committee on November 28, 2017 in Cape Town, South Africa. Moyane appeared before the committee to present the revenue service's annual report and to field questions about the suspension, investigation and reinstatement of Jonas Makwakwa. (Photo by Gallo Images / The Times / Esa Alexander)
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CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA NOVEMBER 28: (SOUTH AFRICA OUT) South African Revenue Services (SARS) commissioner Tom Moyane during his appearance before Parliaments finance committee on November 28, 2017 in Cape Town, South Africa. Moyane appeared before the committee to present the revenue service's annual report and to field questions about the suspension, investigation and reinstatement of Jonas Makwakwa. (Photo by Gallo Images / The Times / Esa Alexander)

In a legal standoff between suspended South African Revenue Services commissioner Tom Moyane and President Cyril Ramaphosa, it was the first citizen who "blinked" first, Moyane's lawyer says.

Moyane had threatened to go to court if Ramaphosa did not accede to his request to stop one of the two inquiries into his conduct. Moyane faces an internal disciplinary hearing, and there is also a separate commission of inquiry looking at governance failures at the revenue service.

Moyane, through his lawyer, Eric Mabuza, called a press conference on Monday to brief the media about 'current matters' as he continues to face an inquiry into the governance of the tax agency.

"Moyane will host a press conference to brief the public about the latest developments in the current matters dealing with his current term of office at Sars," said his lawyer Eric Mabuza in a statement.

Moyane promised to share his response to a letter from President Cyril Ramaphosa which he received on Friday. Ramaphosa was replying to a letter previously sent by Moyane in which he "was demanding that the President should terminate one or both of the inquiries into the governance of SARS."

Moyane sent the letter last week, after former Judge Robert Nugent who is heading the inquiry into governance at SARS previously dismissed similar requests.

Moyane's lawyers asked for either the Nugent commission, or Moyane's upcoming internal disciplinary hearing to be stopped, saying they should not be taking place concurrently.

A request was also made to have Professor Michael Katz removed from his role as an assistant in the Nugent commission because Moyane's legal team believed that Ramaphosa and Katz share a "close personal relationship".

Previously, Judge Nugent responded to a similar letter of demand declaring it: "abuse, invective and sinister suggestion".

At the Wanderers Protea Hotel in Johannesburg on Monday, it was revealed that Ramaphosa said he would wait for the chairperson of Moyane's disciplinary inquiry advocate Azhar Bam SC to decide whether it was fair for Moyane to face two inquiries at once, Eyewitness News reported.

Mabuza reportedly said they were satisfied with this response and would not be going to court over the issue.

He said, "The letter that we had sent the president was very specific. The demands we had put were very specific. Had the president not complied with the demands, we'd surely have gone to court. So to put it in colloquial terms we would say the president blinked."

According to the Mail & Guardian, Mabuza added, "What the president has realised is that the two processes are in face one, he has consolidated the two processes himself."

Mabuza reportedly took the opportunity to bemoan the treatment his client had received from former employees and the media since he was suspended three months ago. Mabuza reportedly said that a leaked recording to Moyane telling a Sars official to pretend he was sick to avoid being questioned by another Sars inquiry, was doctored.

"Had you listened to that recording properly with a forensic ear you would have heard that Moyane thanks the gentleman, as a journalist I would have expected you to ask the question what was he thanking him for? I didn't see that in your reporting.

"You would have [also] noticed that in that recording Moyane says 'you can go to the KPMG inquiry another time'. I am not saying you must take his side all I am saying is you must report fairly and truthfully" said Mabuza.

The press conference was frustrating to journalists, who said they were "attacked" by Moyane and that he refused to answer questions at the press conference.