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”.