I expected a relationship of mutual trust with Moyane – former SARS spokesperson

2017-04-05 14:31
Adrian Lackay (Sarel van der Walt/Netwerk24)

Adrian Lackay (Sarel van der Walt/Netwerk24)

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Johannesburg - SARS commissioner Tom Moyane was convinced in 2014 that his emails were being intercepted and blocked.

This emerged during the cross-examination of former SARS spokesperson Adrian Lackay at a Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) hearing on Wednesday morning. 

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

SARS lawyer Wisani Sibuyi began his cross-examination by looking into allegations of a "rogue unit" that rocked SARS in 2014 and 2015. The advocate referred to a document compiled in response to a media query on the unit, which said that SARS never had the ability to intercept communications. 

Sibuyi said the document differed from the conclusions drawn from the Sikhakhane report, "specifically that there was a rogue unit that operated outside of the law".

The advocate then referred to remarks made by Moyane at an exco meeting, where he complained that his emails were being intercepted.

Lackay agreed that the commissioner had made those remarks. 

Dismissed official's emails blocked

Lackay then described a meeting with Moyane in which he seemed to firmly believe a headline that had just run in the Sunday Times. "Tax man's rogue unit ran brothel," the headline read. 

"He [Moyane] seemed to believe his emails were being intercepted and blocked from getting to him." 

Lackay said there was an attempt to provide Moyane with a rational explanation on the alleged email blocking, "but I don't think he believed the officials". 

Lackay explained that, many years ago, a SARS official who was dismissed - Kenneth Fitoyi - kept sending emails with numerous allegations to the commissioner's email address. It was requested that the emails from him be blocked from the SARS system, he said. 

"I believe that was the basis for Moyane's belief that his emails were being blocked from him."

Lackay said evidence emerged later that Fitoyi was part of a group who had written an intelligence dossier on SARS, going back to 2009.

Kept in the dark

Sibuyi suggested that Lackay had a good working relationship with Moyane.

"The opposite is true, and that is the reason why I am here today," Lackay said. 

He said his duties were being taken away from him and he was being kept in the dark.

"I believe this was done by and with the approval of commissioner Moyane, Mr [Jonas] Makwakwa and Luther Lebelo." 

Lackay said he had expected to have a relationship of professionalism and mutual trust with Moyane, and did everything possible to welcome him. 

"You were friends with Ivan Pillay, you sat in his office reading newspapers, and so you discussed things. You expected the same to happen with Mr Moyane, which was unreasonable of you," Sibuyi said. 

'I respected him as a subordinate'

Lackay responded that he was not friends with Pillay. He saw him as the deputy commissioner of SARS, and he was his subordinate.

"I did not spend most of my time in his office reading newspapers. That keeps being put to me and I deny it," Lackay said. "I respected him as a subordinate reporting to him." 

Sibuyi then said that Lackay was friends with Pillay and former SARS executive Johann van Loggerenberg, and that he was not happy that they had been suspended.

Lackay said their suspension had not been communicated to him and that he should not have been kept in the dark considering the negative headlines this would cause.

"Whether they were my friends or not, whether I was happy or not, is irrelevant," he said. 

Cross-examination continues. 

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

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