JOHANNESBURG – Suspended deputy-commissioner of the South African Revenue Service (Sars) Ivan Pillay and group executive Peter Richer have resigned with immediate effect.
In a statement released on Thursday morning, Sars said “all Sars initiated charges and related investigations have been withdrawn”.
Their resignations follow months of turmoil at Sars amid media allegations about a covert unit and the resignation of several other high-level officials.
Last week, the Sars Advisory Board (SAB) headed by retired judge Frank Kroon, said the establishment of the secret unit within Sars in 2007, which covertly gathered intelligence, was unlawful as Sars did not have the statutory authority to covertly gather evidence.
Its findings drew from the Sikhakhane report, which followed from an investigation into the media allegations and the conduct of former group executive Johann van Loggerenberg, and other reports.
The SAB recommended that the individual members of management who erred in the unlawful establishment of the unit “should be held to account”.
It also recommended that the disciplinary proceedings against the Sars members who were suspended following the receipt of the Sikhakhane report, Pillay and Richer, should be finalised as a matter of urgency.
As a result of their resignations, the disciplinary proceedings won’t continue.
“To the extent that crimes may have been committed pursuant to the establishment of the unit, the SAB recommends that Sars report the matter to the SAPS with the request that the necessary investigation be accorded priority and any persons who may have contravened the law, speedily be brought to book,” Kroon said last week.
Due to the reorganisation process at Sars no decisions have been made about filling their positions.
“Sars has accepted their resignations, and hereby confirms that the parting of ways is mutually beneficial and in the interest of Sars as an institution. Sars acknowledges and appreciates the contribution of Mr Pillay and Mr Richer during their years of service and wishes them all the best in their future endeavours,” the statement read.
In a separate statement, the ministry of finance said the agreement will end the public speculation that has dominated media reports about the developments at Sars in the past few months.
“These unfortunate reports have been unhelpful and threatened to take focus away from the work that Sars has been doing.”
“The success of Sars in meeting its mandate of collecting revenue over the years has been a crucial block in building a sound fiscus which has enabled South Africa to increase the depth and breadth of public services. It is crucial that this fiscal institution be stable, effective and efficient and conducts its work without fear or favour,” it said.