In dismissing former South African Revenue Service (Sars) commissioner Tom Moyane’s application on Tuesday, Judge Hans Fabricius had some sharp words to say about Moyane’s conduct and behaviour.
“It is clear from my judgment that the conduct of the applicant [Moyane] 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, who heads up the Sars inquiry] have been insulted and defamed without any reasonable cause,” Fabricius said at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria.
“Insults have been hurled at every conceivable opportunity. No reasonable or lawful grounds exists for an unwarranted attack on the integrity of [President Cyril Ramaphosa] and [Nugent]. The whole of the application is an abuse of the process of this court,” he added.
“I cannot think of a single reason why this application should be classified as a bono fide attempt to secure or safeguard [Moyane’s] constitutional or common law contractual rights.”
“[Moyane’s] behaviour throughout these proceedings is abominable,” Fabricius said.
In dismissing Moyane’s application, Fabricius had the following to say: “It is my view that the application for interim relief such as it is must be dismissed.”
He said he had dismissed the application for all 11 reasons, including the following:
1) The application is not urgent;
2) There is no course of action that would sustain an interdict against the release of the final report of the Sars inquiry;
3) Moyane has no legal interest in the final report of the Sars inquiry;
4) Interim relief was sought pending the determination of the Constitutional Court application, which has been dismissed;
5) Moyane failed to establish why the Sars inquiry’s interim report or the acceptance of its recommendations be set aside.
Fabricius found that the Sars inquiry was lawfully established, that the inquiry’s report was lawfully issued and Ramaphosa was empowered to remove Moyane in terms of the Sars Act.
In removing Moyane, Ramaphosa did so “lawfully and rationally”. Moyane’s employment contract with Sars “provided no impediment to the president’s removal of him from office”. Moyane was afforded an opportunity to be heard by the Sars inquiry and by Ramaphosa, which he “spurned with distain”.
Moyane’s lawyer, Eric Mabuza, said that they disagreed with Fabricius’ ruling.
“We are certainly coming back,” he added.
“We are going to proceed with part B, which is a review of Nugent’s decision. This was merely to freeze the status quo. Today we didn’t manage to freeze the status quo. We will see what the judge says in this judgment,” Mabuza told City Press at the court after Fabricius delivered his ruling.
Moyane was seeking to bar Ramaphosa from:
- implementing the remaining recommendations of the Sars inquiry;
- appointing any person to the position of Sars commissioner;
- advertising the position of Sars commissioner and taking any steps directed towards filling the position with any person other than Moyane himself.
Moyane was also seeking for Ramaphosa to reinstate him as Sars commissioner and that he remain suspended on full pay.
Moyane wanted the internal disciplinary inquiry set up by Ramaphosa to remain in place.