'Did you hate Moyane?' - Lackay asked in SARS CCMA case

2017-04-03 19:10
Adrian Lackay. (File, Cornél van Heerden, Netwerk24)

Adrian Lackay. (File, Cornél van Heerden, Netwerk24)

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Johannesburg - SARS commissioner Tom Moyane and suspended chief operating officer Jonas Makwakwa may be called to testify at former spokesperson Adrian Lackay’s CCMA hearing.

"It won’t be today and it won’t be tomorrow. But I might call them later in the week," SARS advocate Wisani Sibuyi said during his cross-examination of Lackay on Monday.

Lackay reiterated, at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) on Monday, that information was withheld from him during a time of crisis at SARS, making it impossible for him to do his job properly.

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

Earlier this year, Lackay’s testimony revealed explosive allegations about the way SARS was run between 2014 and 2015, at the height of "rogue unit" allegations reported in the media.

"Did you hate Commissioner Moyane? Did you hate his management style?" Sibuyi asked Lackay.

Lackay said he did not.

The lawyer asked why Lackay had not established a relationship with Moyane. Lackay previously testified that he had repeatedly tried to contact and meet the commissioner, without success.

Sibuyi indicated that Lackay went on leave in December 2014, without having first asking Moyane for permission.

'Why did you disobey those instructions?'

Lackay said his line manager, Dr Georgiou Radesich, the group executive of governance and risk, had given him permission to take leave, but had asked him to speak to Moyane personally.

Lackay said he repeatedly went to Moyane’s office but was told he was unavailable and that he was out of the country.

"You were told not to leave without seeing the commissioner. Why did you disobey those instructions?" Sibuyi asked.

He read out an email in which Radesich told Lackay that he needed to seek an active relationship with the commissioner.

"At this time, we need people who act professionally at SARS," Radesich wrote.

Lackay asked if he could read the rest of the email, which was a reminder to Radesich that he had already approved his leave.

"If there was a breakdown in communication, surely it was not by me. I tried to do my work while things were being kept from me for weeks, while the institution was under severe attack in the media," Lackay said.

"In crucial discussions, I was kept out of the loop. I was not informed and could not do my work properly. That created fear and anxiety."

'Nothing was ever communicated to me'

Lackay mentioned that his deputy spokesperson, Marika Muller, had gone to a Government Communication and Information System meeting with Makwakwa, where it was discussed that Lackay was a source of problems in SARS’ communication.

He testified previously that at this meeting it was planned that a Mail & Guardian story on Moyane’s relationship with President Jacob Zuma would be "spiked".

This meant a general press release would be sent out as the paper was printed.

Sibuyi said he may call Makwakwa to state what had happened at the meeting.

Lackay indicated that SARS employee Luther Lebelo and Makwakwa had never previously conducted a single media interview, yet Lackay was told they would be handling all media queries.

Sibuyi said SARS was simply beefing up its communications department and that there was nothing wrong with this.

"This person is not a media expert," Lackay said.

"Had I done something wrong? Was Mr Lebelo so much better at speaking to the media than I was? I don’t know. Nothing was ever communicated to me."

Cross-examination will continue on Tuesday.

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

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