President Cyril Ramaphosa submitted his answering affidavit to the Constitutional Court on Friday. In it, he detailed his reasons for axing SARS Commissioner Tom Moyane as well as why the matter was not in the ConCourt’s jurisdiction.
Moyane, who was fired on Thursday, approached the ConCourt earlier to have both his disciplinary and the Nugent Commission of Inquiry into the SA Revenue Service set aside. The Nugent Commission, in its interim report, recommended that Moyane be sacked. Ramaphosa acted on this recommendation.
Here are the 10 top quotes from Ramaphosa’s court papers.
1. The national interest demanded that both inquiries proceed and reach finality as a matter of urgency.
2. Both processes are fair in terms of the law and there is no unfairness or prejudice to Mr Moyane occassioned by the processes proceeding contemporaneously (at the same time).
3. I point out that Mr Moyane [wanting Nugent’s ruling to be set aside] has since been rendered moot in that on September 24, Nugent submitted his interim report to me in which he recommended the removal of Mr Moyane.
4. It is abundantly clear that all of [Moyane’s] relief sought [including in relation to the disciplinary process] has been rendered moot by my decision to remove [him].
5. Mr Moyane’s affidavit is littered with gratuitous allegations levelled against me, the media, Justice Kate O’Regan, Professor Michael Katz, retired Judge Nugent, Mr Vuyo Kahla, Advocate Mabongi Masilo and Minister Pravin Gordhan. Not only are these allegations unbecoming of a senior public official, but they are argumentative, inflammatory and ultimately irrelevant to Mr Moyane’s cause of action.
6. The only challenge which subsists is [Moyane’s] challenge to my refusal to remove Professor Katz as an assistant in the SARS Commission. However, on the timelines set out, in the terms of reference of this Commission, in all likelihood this Commission would have completed its work by the time this matter is heard (and decided) by this Court.
7. This court’s exclusive jurisdiction must be considered against the wide powers conferred on the High Courts and the Supreme Court of Appeal under Section 172 (1) (a) to declare any law or conduct inconsistent with the Constitution.
8. Mr Moyane accepts that the matter is not brought on an urgent basis under the rules of this court. His contention that he is bringing this on a “semi-urgent” basis rings hollow.
9. “The state of SARS would have led any responsible leader to voluntarily step down.”
10. “When it becomes apparent that its role [SARS] may have been compromised, to the extent that it erodes its ability to deliver on its mandate, it is incumbent on government and on me as the president (who is empowered to appoint and dismiss the commissioner) to act promptly and decisively in order to restore that credibility in the national interest.”