SARS boss' bombshell affair ignored for more than a year

2016-10-09 06:27
Jonas Makwakwa (SARS)

Jonas Makwakwa (SARS)

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For nearly a year, SA Revenue Service (Sars) bosses ignored complaints that suspended revenue service head Jonas Makwakwa personally signed off on the irregular promotion for his girlfriend, Kelly-Ann Elskie, to a key job in high court litigation in Sars’ legal and policy division.

They also allegedly failed to investigate complaints that Elskie (28) – who began a relationship with Makwakwa (47) while she was the personal secretary of Clifford Collings, the head of Sars’ anti-corruption and security division – did not have the law degree she needed for the post of junior consultant: legal and policy, which Makwakwa allegedly created, budgeted for and signed off for her.

Elskie and Makwakwa have two children together.

Elskie was suspended following a report by amaBhungane over allegations of nepotism and a series of payments totalling R1 million that were paid into her and Makwakwa’s bank accounts.

The amounts were paid over a period of about six months and were picked up in a report by the Financial Intelligence Centre.

Makwakwa, who is married to Molibinyane Makwakwa, a fellow Sars employee who he also met on the job, was suspended by his boss and ally, Sars commissioner Tom Moyane, last month.

The allegations against Makwakwa are being investigated by an external firm of attorneys appointed by Sars management.

At the time Elskie was promoted, her transfer application – of which City Press has obtained a copy – claimed she had a BA degree in law from the University of Pretoria and a certificate in corporate forensic investigation, as well as training in anti-corruption at Sars.

But this was challenged shortly thereafter by her line manager, Diane Lalor, who lodged an official complaint requesting an investigation into both the appointment process and Elskie’s qualifications.

City Press has also obtained copies of Elskie’s letter of appointment, which Makwakwa signed, as well as her letter of transfer.

Adulterous relationship

One current and one former Sars employee told City Press that Makwakwa started motivating for Elskie to be appointed in January last year, when he was acting chief operating officer.

Makwakwa allegedly signed off on the post and a budget for it in a proposal to Lalor, a senior manager in the litigation division, without declaring that he and Elskie were in a relationship and at that time had one child together.

The former Sars employee said Makwakwa was not the line manager responsible for the litigation or anti-corruption divisions and Elskie had not applied for an existing post.

However, Makwakwa proposed to the Sars litigation section that he would provide it with a “candidate” who had a law degree and who could do court and other legal work.

The candidate would come with a “post and budget”, meaning the litigation section would gain an additional lawyer without having to pay for it.

But once Lalor questioned the relationship and Elskie’s appointment, “Makwakwa would perpetually interfere with work instructions that Lalor would give to Elskie as her subordinate”, the former employee said.

Elskie then laid a grievance against Lalor, who confronted her over her relationship with Makwakwa.


In a grievance hearing, Lalor allegedly provided evidence of an “adulterous relationship” and then asked for a formal investigation into Elskie’s qualifications.

“The chairperson dismissed the grievance and ruled that Elskie be moved from the division,” one Sars employee said.

“No investigation into Elskie’s qualifications followed. Lalor has since lodged a grievance of her own, demanding that Sars pay her legal costs incurred during the grievance procedures.”

Lalor did not respond to calls from City Press.

Sars spokespeople Luther Lebelo and Sandile Memela did not respond to questions sent on Thursday.

Collings declined to talk to City Press about the promotion.

He left Sars in December 2014 on medical retirement and allegedly bought the surveillance equipment that the so-called Sars rogue unit used.

Read more on:    sars  |  jonas makwakwa  |  kelly-ann elskie

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