SARS fiasco bad for country — ANC

2014-12-22 00:00

THE ANC is concerned about the crisis engulfing the SA Revenue Service (SARS) and wants it resolved as soon as possible for the sake of the country.

ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe told sister paper Beeld yesterday problems at SARS would have an impact on the whole country.

“An institution like SARS must not come under suspicion. People could think this was being done deliberately.”

His comments came after the Sunday Times, which previously revealed the existence of a covert intelligence unit with SARS, reported yesterday that deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay, who won a court application overturning his suspension on technical grounds, was notified on Friday that he is to be suspended again.

The paper reported that the charges against Pillay have to do, among other issues, with his involvement with the setting up of the unit, called the National Research Unit.

Both the Sunday Times and Sunday Independent reported that former Finance minister Trevor Manuel, and Pravin Gordhan, who was SARS commissioner at the time and later succeeded Manuel, approved and signed off on the covert unit in 2007.

SARS spokesperson Marika Muller said yesterday the service would not comment further on the issue.

DA shadow finance minister Dion George said his party will ask questions about the covert unit and the crisis around SARS in the new year.

George said he has been asking questions about the unit since 2009, but its existence was previously denied.

He added he is aware that senior SARS managers are very unhappy with new commissioner Tom Moyane, who has no background in tax collection.

“What now appears to be the case is that SARS staff like Pillay and other senior managers are being pursued for their involvement in tax investigations of prominent politicians and their business associates,” he said.

Dumisa Jele, Gordhan’s spokesperson at the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, said the minister was not available to comment.

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