Ex-SARS spokesperson's job advertised twice while he was still on duty

2017-01-24 19:02
Adrian Lackay. (Cornél van Heerden, Netwerk24)

Adrian Lackay. (Cornél van Heerden, Netwerk24)

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Johannesburg - While SARS spokesperson Adrian Lackay was still employed at SARS, two job adverts, with his exact job description, were placed in the media.

This emerged on the second day of Lackay’s testimony in an arbitration hearing before the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).

Lackay is arguing that his working conditions became unbearable amid allegations by SARS commissioner Tom Moyane that senior officials had set up an illegal, "rogue" spy unit. He is seeking financial compensation.

Lackay worked for the South African Revenue Service for 11 years. He has claimed he was forced to leave after it became "untenable" to associate himself with goings-on there. He resigned in February 2015.

Lackay said he was called to the office of then acting SARS COO Jonas Makwakwa, where he was told that Luther Lebelo would assume the responsibility of speaking to the media on behalf of SARS and that Lackay would be expected to help him.

He was told two jobs would be advertised to beef up the communications department because of the negative headlines SARS had received.

"This was the first indication to me from the SARS leadership that there was a concern over the negative headlines in the media," he said.

'I was very anxious'

Lackay said he did not believe extra resources were needed in the department because they had enough expertise between himself and his deputy, Marika Muller.

When the jobs were advertised, Lackay saw the positions had the same job description as his own.

"When they appeared in the media, I was very anxious and uncertain about my future, given the events from October 2014 that I have testified on, and I feared that I would either become the subject of some disciplinary process or I would lose my job," Lackay said.

The former spokesperson earlier described a meeting he had had with Moyane in January 2015. He said Moyane’s tone had become aggressive and hostile.

Lackay said Moyane had repeatedly asked him where he had been since he accompanied him to the medium-term budget policy statement in Parliament in October the previous year.

"I was puzzled by these questions. I explained I had been in my office every day, less than 30 metres from his door. I mentioned all the emails and media enquiries which I had sent him."

Lackay said Moyane then told him he wanted to institute disciplinary charges against him because he had been absent in December without leave and he had been peddling information to the media. Lackay said this was not true.

'Clear the air'

Lackay said he had asked Moyane "what is your end game with regard to the suspension of senior staff?"

He had responded: "Why should the commissioner inform you about actions against staff? In the past, were you ever informed when people were suspended?"

Moyane then said, throwing his hands in the air, that he had suspended staff "to clear the air here," Lackay said.

Lackay has repeatedly shown in his testimony over the past two days that he was not being given information on events at SARS, which he needed to answer media queries.

When SARS group executive Johan van Loggerenberg resigned, Lackay said he was asked to supply his media database to a secretary and another SARS employee. This was a list of media contact details which he had built up over a number of years.

He later realised it was needed to distribute a SARS statement regarding Van Loggerenberg’s resignation, which Lackay had no input into.

In the statement, journalists were asked to contact Lebelo as spokesperson for SARS, which was meant to be Lackay’s job.

His testimony continues on Wednesday.

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

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