NEWS & ANALYSIS

Meeting between Gordhan and Nugent shocking - EFF

Fighters call for Judge to recuse himself from inquiry for speaking to former SARS Commissioner

EFF EXPRESSES SHOCK AT UNDISCLOSED PRIVATE MEETING BETWEEN GORDHAN AND JUDGE NUGENT

Thursday, 12 July, 2018

The EFF expresses It shock and disappointment at the lawlessness that is repeatedly hanging around the activities of President Ramaphosa and Minister Pravin Gordhan in the handling of a crucial institution like SARS.

Gordhan and his henchmen have been at pains to fool the nation into believing that his rogue unit never existed. This is so despite the clear findings of an independent Investigation by Advocate Muzi Sikhakhane SC which confirmed the existence of the rogue unit under Pravin Gordhan. The Sikhakhane Report has never been challenged or reviewed in a court of law.

More recently President Ramaphosa has been dragged into the personal agenda of Pravin Gordhan. In the process Ramaphosa has committed a series of blunders which can only plunge SARS and the economy into a deeper hole. The embedded mob of journalists is only cheering and clapping hands while this is going on.

First the President appointed a conflicted judge, Justice Kate O'Regan to Chair the Disciplinary Inquiry of SARS Commissioner Tom Moyane, who faces serious charges related to governance at SARS for which he must certainly be called to account. After Justice O'Regan did the right thing and recused herself we thought things will improve.

Now revelations have been made that Former SCA Judge Nugent who is Chairing the Commission of Inquiry held an undisclosed meeting with Pravin Gordhan before Gordhan gave evidence before him. The meeting was only confirmed after enquiries from the media apparently following a tip-off. The judge is quoted as saying the meeting was "above board"

If the meeting was above board why did it take a media leak to reveal it? Why did the judge not volunteer the information to the public before Gordhans evidence? Why did the judge find it necessary to meet a witness who is still to give evidence before him?

Why was the meeting not conducted only with the Evidence Leaders? What was discussed between the two men?

We call on Judge Nugent and Minister Gordhan to answer these questions. Judge Nugent must recuse himself before anymore of the taxpayer's money can be wasted on his biased Commission.

Imagine what the Mob of Journalists would say if they had received a tip-off that Deputy Chief Justice Zondo personally held an undisclosed meeting with Former Minister Mosebendzi Zwane or Des "weekend special" Van Royen Zuma before Zuma could testify at the State Capture Commission? Imagine their disdain?

The EFF believes that Tom Moyane should be removed from SARS. But like all citizens, guilty or innocent, he must be treated fairly. If the government continues to mess up the process by infringing upon his constitutional rights the only outcome will be that his necessary removal will come at a high cost to the taxpayer and with huge damage and consequences for the poor.

It must also be appreciated that no permanent Commissioner of SARS can be appointed until this matter is finalized in full compliance with the law. The country cannot continue to collect the money necessary to deliver services to our people without a stable leadership at SARS.

Statement issued by the EFF, 12 July 2018