No joy for pay fraud victim two years on

2011-07-11 00:00

A FORMER electrician with Mpofana Municipality has battled for two years to get his name cleared from debt blacklists after discovering in 2009 that he supposedly owed the South African Revenue Services (SARS) about R168 000 in unpaid taxes, six years after he had resigned from the municipality.

Thuthuka Hadebe told The Witness he resigned from the municipality in 2003, but in 2009 he learnt he was still on the payroll of Mpofana Municipality when he visited SARS to get a tax clearance certificate. “I could not believe that after six years the municipality was still paying my salary,” he said. It turned out that a payroll officer had defrauded the municipality by reactivating Hadebe’s name on the payment system.

Hadebe said the debt has tarnished his reputation and his part-time business has been affected because he cannot get a tax clearance certificate.

“As soon as I learnt of this matter in 2009 I alerted the municipal manager, Muzi Madlala, but two years on my name is still uncleared. My life has been greatly affected by this because I cannot do anything until my name has been cleared.”

Hadebe said he suspects that there are many more people who have become victims of a similar scam and questioned how it was not discovered in the municipality’s annual audits.

Mpofana municipal manager Muzi Madlala said, “A few years after [Hadebe] resigned we discovered fraud committed by our former payroll officer whom we dismissed for having committed the offence by re-activating the employment status of Mr Hadebe.”

Madlala said that in the process the payroll officer had issued IRP5 tax certificates in Hadebe’s name.

“We have resolved the matter with the revenue office and Hadebe is encouraged to approach Revenue Services for his tax clearance certificate. We sincerely apologise to Mr Hadebe for the inconvenience caused, which was not intended but was as a result of our effort to fight against fraud,” he added.

Madlala said the delay in clearing Hadebe’s name was caused by the length of time in which the fraud was committed and the time it took to investigate the fraud.

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