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‘Bring true version of Sars events before parliament’

Adrian Lackay’s plea to standing committee chairs.

JOHANNESBURG – Former spokesperson of the South African Revenue Service (Sars), Adrian Lackay, has appealed to chairpersons of standing committees of parliament that a “true version” of the events that have been unfolding at the Receiver should also be considered.

In an e-mailed letter to Yunus Carrim, chairperson of the Standing Committee on Finance (SCOF) and Cornelia September, chairperson of the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence (JSCI), Lackay said it would be in the interest of the SCOF and the JSCI to engage with Sars and request them to get Ivan Pillay, Pete Richer, Johann van Loggerenberg and Yolisa Pikie to make submissions to the committees.

All these individuals are former high-level Sars officials. 

“I believe it to be a travesty of justice if matters are left to continue at Sars as they have been since September 2014. We would all be failing in our collective responsibility towards the fiscal future of our country if these matters are not properly interrogated,” Lackay wrote.

The letter is dated March 24, 2015, but the DA has been unable to table it in Parliament this week 

Lackay’s plea follows his resignation from Sars in February this year after a period of 11 years at the Receiver. During his tenure he spent several years as spokesperson for Pravin Gordhan, now minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs.

Lackay’s resignation followed the suspensions and/or resignations of several high level officials at Sars (including the names mentioned above).

Sars has been immersed in controversy since last year amidst media reports of an alleged rogue unit operating within Sars, allegations of spy activities and the alleged operation of a brothel.

In his letter Lackay said Sars undertook three separate investigations into matters related to the media allegations. He believes these investigations were lacking, as key individuals involved weren’t given a right of reply or the opportunity to offer their version of events.

Tom Moyane was appointed Sars commissioner in September last year. 

Lackay said during the latter part of 2014 the Commissioner caused him to issue statements to the media and it became apparent to him at a later stage that such public statements contained false and incorrect information.

“Key facts which I was in possession of or came to be aware of during the course of my time at Sars that relate to the matters at hand were being ignored deliberately, adapted to advance a particular narrative and which were used as basis to effectively muzzle, frustrate, victimize and suspend key officials in Sars,” he writes. 

Lackay has instituted labour proceedings against Sars on the basis that he was constructively dismissed.

When approached for comment, Lackay said he would prefer not to make further public statements other than what has been submitted to the two Committees in Parliament at this stage. 

“I will be guided by the respective Chairpersons as to how they wish to deal with my submissions,” he said.

Luther Lebelo, executive: employment relations at Sars, said Sars did not receive a letter of this nature from Lackay nor was such a letter presented to Parliament.  

The existence of such a letter or the allegations therein would be interesting since Lackay never raised such issues officially with Sars prior to his resignation nor in his resignation letter but in the media, he said.

Lebelo said Lackay was not at any point instructed by Mr Moyane to perform anything illegal, if instructed at all, and therefore the allegations are “grossly mute”.

“Sars has no option but to conclude that this allegations by Lackay, if indeed they exist, are not and cannot have any shred of truth but are part of a crowd which is relentless albeit unsuccessfully [trying] to defame the Sars as an institution and its Commissioner, Mr Tom Moyane.”

Lebelo said the fact that Sars exceeded its revenue collection target by R7.4 billion shows that the “public can be assured that committed men and women of Sars are hard at work collecting all revenues due to the state”.

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Allegations of “operating a brothel”. Is there any other country in the world where some person or unit in its tax authority could be facing such an accusation?
And the allegations are “grossly mute” – what the hell does that mean? Big ugly swan which has lost its voice?

Did they not confiscate the Ranch some time ago? Somebody would have to maintain the asset until the case was finalised.

It is time for all of us to follow the example set by the president and refuse to pay tax. The tax revolt already brought down e-tolling, and a large percentage of citizens don’t pay their electricity and municipal accounts.
The destruction of SARS will only impact negatively on those who receive social grants. The rest of us will benefit from it – like the president does. Taxation is a eurocentric invention. It was imported by Jan van Riebeeck. Away with taxes! Away!

Income tax (as opposed to other types) was introduced in Britain in 1798 and was intended to be a temporary tax (ha-ha). Let’s not blame Jan for this one! The trouble with an income tax revolt is that PAYE is deducted at source, so there’s not much an individual can do. Make sure you claim every legitimate deduction, especially medical costs. Wish all countries would consider doing away with all the taxes we pay, and instead introduce a “transaction tax” on every financial transaction. Buyer and seller both pay 0.35% and this is enough to replace all other taxes, bar import duties. Just dreaming…

Let me tell you there are some very funny things happening at SARS. I strongly recommend that everyone starts checking all statements and calculations coming out of SARS. In Feb 2015, they moved 2 provisional payments from 2006 and 2009 to end 2009 (effectively re-ageing dates when payments were credited) this immediately resulted in interest accruing while on the surface everything looked correct. Fortunately I had all my documentation going back and was able to work out what they’d done. These “errors” have since been reversed and my account corrected, but only after the 31 March collection deadline. This journal entry was to precise to be an error, I believe that SARS are under huge pressure and are now trying to fraudulently extort extra revenue out of the few of us who still play by the rules by manipulating prior period entries and banking on the fact that most people do not keep copies of SARS related documents. When government institutions that have enormous powers start abusing those powers and break the very laws they are supposed to uphold, you can be assured that major problems are going to follow. My question to SARS: why should I obey the law and pay my share when you cannot abide by the same rules and regulations ?

What Pravin Gordan did was to have replaced the old apartheid regime with SARS so as to get to their enemies emotionally destroyed. Now that his KARMA has come back to haunt him,he cries in public. Did he not realize that someday your sins must come visit you

End of comments.





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