Former SARS spokesperson enjoyed benefits from Pillay, CCMA hears

2017-06-07 23:30
Adrian Lackay (Cornél van Heerden, Netwerk24)

Adrian Lackay (Cornél van Heerden, Netwerk24)

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Johannesburg - One of the reasons former SARS spokesperson Adrian Lackay left the service was because he was no longer enjoying benefits he received from former deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay.

This was the testimony of SA Revenue Service (SARS) group executive Luther Lebelo 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. 

Under cross-examination, Lebelo said Lackay was a grade seven employee who was given a relatively good salary increase.

"To my knowledge and understanding of SARS policy, it was a violation of [the] policy," Lebelo said.

He said he never lodged a grievance or complaint about the misappropriate salary increase; however, he raised the issue with Pillay.

He also said when he heard about Lackay’s constructive dismissal case, he thought it was a joke.

Advocate Paul Pretorius, SC, representing Lackay, said Lebelo was making serious allegations.

Pretorius said if Lebelo thought Lackay received an inappropriate salary increase, he should have lodged a grievance.

He also said Lackay would deny that he left SARS for greener pastures, according to Lebelo's testimony.

However, Lebelo said Lackay would not have kept quiet if he was unhappy, adding that he would often tell him that, 'I have a lord and one lord only and that is [former finance minister] Pravin Gordhan'.

Personal attacks 

Pretorius hit back by saying Lackay feared that if a situation arose where there was conflict with SARS, personal communication would be revealed.

"He [Lackay] had previously called commissioner [Tom] Moyane names," said Lebelo.

"He [Lackay] personally attacks people."

Lackay had previously revealed a lot of what went on behind the scenes at SARS when Commissioner Tom Moyane first started the job in the midst of the onslaught of the rogue unit debacle in 2014 and 2015.

He had previously argued that his working conditions became unbearable amid allegations of the rogue unit's existence, and that he was forced to leave after it became untenable to associate with the goings-on at the revenue service.

Lackay revealed that not only did Moyane not fight back against the rogue unit allegations - he "tacitly approved them".

He also said that Moyane's right-hand man at the time [before he was suspended after it publicly emerged that there were suspicious transactions in his bank account], acting chief operating officer Jonas Makwakwa, said at a Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) meeting that Lackay was a problem in the communication department at SARS because he was denying that a rogue unit existed.

But on Tuesday, Lebelo rubbished the claims.

He said they went to the GCIS meeting to get guidance regarding problems they experienced with the media. He claimed that Moyane was under attack from the media.
Lebelo said at no point has anyone said Lackay was a "problem".

Lackay had also argued that Moyane changed offices, making himself inaccessible and that he (Lackay) was increasingly being left out of the loop on important events at SARS, such as the suspensions of deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay, at a time when - as the spokesperson of the organisation - he was being bombarded with queries from the media.

The hearing continues.  

Read more on:    sars  |  adrian lackay  |  pravin gordhan  |  tom moyane  |  johannesburg

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