Moyane’s response to rogue unit leaks 'inadequate' - former SARS spokesperson

2017-04-05 19:04
Adrian Lackay (Cornél van Heerden, Netwerk24)

Adrian Lackay (Cornél van Heerden, Netwerk24)

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Johannesburg - SARS commissioner Tom Moyane did little to counteract, or investigate, the allegations in the media that the organisation was running a rogue unit.

This was the testimony of the former SARS spokesperson Adrian Lackay at a Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) hearing on Wednesday.

Lackay has taken SARS to the CCMA for constructive dismissal. He is asking to be awarded a year’s salary.

During cross-examination, SARS advocate Wisani Sibuyi asked Lackay about two threats by his superiors that disciplinary action would be taken against him.

Lackay said the threats were related to leave which he took in December 2014 and which his line manager Dr Georgiou Radesich, the group executive for governance and risk, had approved.

Radesich, he said, sent him a sms saying he would be sending him a letter because he went on leave without approval. Radesich then apologised because he realised he had approved the leave, but said he had asked Lackay to speak personally to Moyane about the leave.

The second threat was by Moyane. Lackay said he called him to his office in January 2015 and repeated the threat that disciplinary action would be brought against him for being on leave without approval.

Lackay said they didn’t go ahead because they realised he had in fact received approval.

Sibuyi said that by the time Lackay resigned in February that year, there was no threat of disciplinary action against him.

“Moyane will deny he threatened to discipline you,” Sibuyi said.  

Leaks

Lackay referred to an email he had sent Moyane expressing concerns about the leaks to the Sunday Times newspaper, which was reporting about the so-called rogue unit. He asked that the leaks be investigated.

Moyane then said in a meeting that “he does not take kindly to emails about leaks and how they should be investigated,” Lackay said.

The meeting where Moyane suspended the SARS executive committee (exco) was the day after the Sunday Times ran an article headlined, “Tax man’s rogue unit ran brothel”. Lackay said he believed the suspensions were because of the article.

He noted that Moyane never challenged the article.

“He never requested (Marika) Muller and myself to challenge this article.” Muller was Lackay’s deputy.

Sibuyi said Moyane had explained that the suspensions were because the exco "suffered from paralysis". Moyane responded to Lackay’s concerns about leaks by sending a newsflash, or notice, to all staff. Lackay said this was inadequate.

“There continued to be leaks from within the institution. I said to him this was serious and impacted on my work. Yet, there was no investigation on the leaks to the Sunday Times.”

Sibuyi said it was Moyane’s prerogative to respond to the crises in the way he saw fit.

“It is his prerogative if he has no real interest in addressing the leaks and especially in addressing the narrative of there being a rogue intelligence unit in SARS,” Lackay replied.

Little, if any, effort was made to challenge the content of the articles and how the information got to the newspaper.

Sibuyi asked if during the time previous commissioner Oupa Magashula was suspended there was any investigation into leaks, as well as during the so-called Project Snowman intelligence dossiers on SARS a few years before.

Lackay said there had been requests to other state agencies, such as the State Security Agency and police crime intelligence, to investigate. SARS also conducted its own investigations.

“But, leaks were not anything new,” Sibuyi said.

Sibuyi said the Sunday Times was running stories about the rogue unit long before Moyane started at SARS.

“I disagree. The headlines of a rogue unit started on 12 October 2014 and they continued regularly after that. This was after Moyane was appointed,” said Lackay.

Read more on:    ccma  |  sars  |  adrian lackay  |  tom moyane  |  rogue unit

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