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Zuma no longer sees need to step into Moyane Treasury spat

May 22 2017 20:47
Liesl Peyper

Cape Town – President Jacob Zuma said he no longer sees the need to mediate between the Finance Ministry and the South African Revenue Service (SARS) as new Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba and SARS commissioner Tom Moyane have a “good working relationship”. 

Zuma was responding to parliamentary questions posed by Democratic Alliance (DA) spokesperson on finance David Maynier and Cope MP Deirdre Carter who asked Zuma which action he has taken at presidential level to resolve the perceived impasse between former finance minister Pravin Gordhan and Moyane. 

READ: Zuma to intervene in Gordhan/Moyane standoff 

“Mr (Pravin) Gordhan is no longer the Minister of Finance,” Zuma responded. “The Minister of Finance Mr Malusi Gigaba and Mr Tom Moyane have a good working relationship. There is no longer a need for mediation.” 

Zuma earlier stated he was mediating between former finance minister Gordhan and Moyane when reports of a breakdown in their working relationship came to light in 2016.

READ: Gordhan climbs into SARS top management 

Moyane had been accused of purging SARS executives that helped Gordhan transform SARS and he was allegedly behind the probe into the alleged illegal “rogue” unit which the former finance minister had set up during his tenure as SARS commissioner. 

The SARS commissioner seemed to have openly defied Gordhan’s instruction to halt restructuring plans. In addition, Gordhan claimed in a number of responses to Parliamentary questions that he could not verify the accuracy of information provided by SARS, due to a “lack of accountability and cooperation” from the Revenue Service. 

Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas were both dismissed in a midnight Cabinet reshuffle at the end of March and replaced by Gigaba and Sfiso Buthelezi, respectively. 

'Nene was nominated for BRICS Bank position'

In a separate question, DA leader Mmusi Maimane asked Zuma whether indeed he nominated former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene to serve as head of the new Development (BRICS) Bank. 

“I have on several occasions, including in a reply to a written Parliamentary question publicly stated that South Africa indeed nominated Mr Nhlanhla Nene for the position of Head of the African Regional Centre of the New Development Bank, also known as the BRICS Bank,” Zuma responded. 

READ: Thebe snaps up Nene 

“No further action is being taken in this regard as Mr Nene subsequently accepted a position in the private sector.” 

Nene was unexpectedly recalled as finance minister on 9 December 2015 and replaced by Des van Rooyen who at the time was an ANC MP serving on the standing committee on finance. Days later he was replaced by Gordhan and moved to the cooperative governance and traditional affairs portfolio. 

Zuma at the time, said Nene was removed from the finance ministry because he would be nominated to head up the BRICS Bank. Nene, however, claimed in an interview with eNCA he “has yet to hear from the BRICS Bank”. 

He has since been appointed as a resident adviser to Thebe Investment Corporation and also serves on the board of Allan Gray. 

Tax a 'confidential matter'

Maimane also asked Zuma if he had paid any fringe benefits tax on the non-security related upgrades at his private homestead in Nkandla. 

Zuma repeated his previous response that tax is a “confidential” matter and refrained from answering the question. 

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