Two legal brawlers, senior counsels Dali Mpofu and Michelle le Roux, yesterday locked horns, leaving Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo at the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture unable to make a ruling until he has applied his mind. Mpofu, representing the South African Revenue Service (Sars) former commissioner Tom Moyane, was arguing in favour of allowing his client to cross-examine his former boss, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan.
Gordhan implicated Moyane during his testimony before the commission in November last year. Mpofu argued that for Gordhan’s evidence to be accepted, “it has to be tested”, with its credibility and relevance being key. A regulation of the commission states that individuals have no automatic right to cross examine a witness, but it gives Zondo the power to permit cross examination “should he deem it necessary and in the best interest of the work of the commission”.
In presenting Moyane’s affidavit, Mpofu said, “If – as Mr Moyane suggested – Mr Gordhan was involved in criminal activity in setting up the rogue unit at Sars, that is a matter that should come to this commission. State capture is about the alleged creation of a parallel state. “The level of acrimony by Mr Gordhan towards Mr Moyane disqualifies him to be an objective commentator.
“We have a transcript of a telephone call by Mr Gordhan telling Mr Moyane to ‘grow up’ and Mr Moyane saying he is ‘no little boy’, which illustrates Mr Gordhan’s vengeful and racist agenda against Mr Moyane. “The only way for Mr Moyane to defend his integrity is if he is granted the right to cross-examine Mr Gordhan.” Mpofu said Moyane was appealing the retired Judge Robert Nugent-led Commission of Inquiry into Tax Administration and Governance ruling that exonerated Gordhan for setting up the alleged rogue unit at Sars.
The Kroon and Sikhakane commissions, argued Mpofu, found its establishment unlawful, so Zondo could not rely on the findings of Nugent.