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Moyane v Ramaphosa and Others (82287/2018) [2018] ZAGPPHC 835

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Moyane v Ramaphosa and Others (82287/2018) [2018] ZAGPPHC 835

14th December 2018

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Click here to read the judgment on Saflii

[1] The Applicant herein was the Commissioner for the South African Revenue Services (“SARS”), and as such appointed for a five year term, from 29 September 2014 to 29 September 2019. On 19 March 2018, the First Respondent, the President of the Republic, issued a letter suspending him as Commissioner with immediate effect, pending the institution of disciplinary proceedings against him. In such letter, the President emphasized a number of important considerations, which in my view are also relevant to the present proceedings:

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1. The work of the South African Revenue Service is critical to the fulfilment of the Government’s commitment to eradicate poverty, create jobs, build infrastructure necessary for the safety and health of the South African people, and provide them with services;

2. Developments at SARS under his leadership, have resulted in a deterioration in public confidence in the institution, and in public finances being compromised. For the sake of the country, and the economy, this situation could not be allowed to continue, or worsen;

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3. It is in the public interest to restore the credibility of SARS without delay;

4. The President has lost confidence in his ability to lead SARS, as his obligation to be responsible for the performance of SARS and its functions impact on the public purse, and therefore the well-being of the nation as a whole. This is an exceptional circumstance that requires urgent and immediate action;

5. The circumstances are not ordinary, and protecting SARS and by corollary  the public interest, must be the President’s primary concern, and therefore, the disrepute into which he had brought SARS and the Government as a whole, and the risk to the National Revenue Fund were enormous;

6. Applicant had not been willing to acknowledge his failures, or the magnitude of the consequences of his actions.

[2] The conditions pertaining to such suspension were provided to Applicant which, amongst others, included the full payment of his salary.

[3] On 23 May 2018, the President announced the appointment of the Fourth Respondent as Chair of a disciplinary enquiry to be held. On the same day, the President also announced the appointment of the SARS Commission, to be chaired by the Third Respondent sitting with a number of assessors. The Applicant raised a number of objections to both processes, whilst the hearing before the Third Respondent continued. On 7 September, a letter was sent to Applicant indicating an intention to send an interim report to the President, in which he would recommend an immediate removal of the Applicant from Office. Applicant in turn, demanded that Third Respondent refrain from making the said recommendation, which demand the Third Respondent refused.

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