A major source in Mkhwebane's report says he was never part of 'rogue unit' - report

Keletso Bizoski Manyike and Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. (Images via Facebook and Gallo)
Keletso Bizoski Manyike and Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. (Images via Facebook and Gallo)

A key witness that Publilc Protector Busiswe Mkhwebane quotes in her report on public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan has told the Sunday Times that he was never a member of the South African Revenue Services (Sars) 'rogue unit'.

In fact, according to the article, Keletso Bizoski Manyike worked as a law interpreter in the legal administration and policy division at Sars and later in debt collection. Mkhwebane's report, which claims Gordhan was the mastermind behind the Sars 'rogue unit', lists Manyike as a former Sars 'specialist agent'. 

Manyike told the Sunday Times that he did not know he featured in the report and that the public protector must have been confused as he was never involved in the unit.

Manyike told the publication that he did submit a complaint to the Public Protector's office in 2014 after he was demoted at Sars. He told the Sunday Times that as part of his complaint, he submitted a 2010 'dossier' that was allegedly compiled by disgraced former Sars official Michael Peega, who made claims about the Sars 'rogue unit'. 

Thuli Madonsela, who was the Public Protector at the time, told Manyika to approach the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration, where he lost the case. He later resigned from Sars and is currently unemployed. 

Peega was fired from Sars after he moonlighted as a rhino poacher, according to City Press. Peega and the late Leonard Radebe were fingered in 2009 in a confidential report as the authors behind a dossier called Broken Arrow which was circulated in several iterations to allege that a covert investigation unit at the commission had gone rogue and that racism was rampant, reported Fin24.

Peega was a member of the Sars National Research Group (NRG) and was on leave when he was arrested on Christmas Day 2008 as a suspect in a rhino poaching syndicate. Radebe was chief operating officer and resigned after his ties with Dave King and Glenn Agliotti came to light.

The Sunday Times reported that Mkhwebane never contacted Manyike to interview him about dossier. He said the only time that the public protector's office called him was to ask if he had Peega's contacts, which he said he did not.

Mkhwebane found in her report that Gordhan was guilty of maladministration and violating the prescripts of the National Strategic Intelligence Act, as well as the Constitution, for the establishment of an intelligence unit at the Sars in 2007, according to News24

Gordhan was SARS Commissioner between 2001 and 2009.

The Public Protector recommended action be taken by President Cyril Ramaphosa, Speaker of the National Assembly Thandi Modise, state security minister Ayanda Dlodlo, national director of public prosecutions Shamila Batohi and police commissioner Kehla Sithole.

The Sunday Times wrote that Mkhwebane copied word for word allegations that were contained in the Broken Arrow dossier but ascribes them to Manyike.

Gordhan has filed court papers in an urgent bid to interdict Mkhwebane's remedial actions.

When the Sunday Times approached the Public Protector's office for comment, spokesperson Oupa Segalwa said that anyone who is unhappy with or questions the content of the report could join in Gordhan's court bid as interested parties to have it reviewed and set aside. 

In a statement issued on Sunday, the EFF accused the Sunday Times of deliberately misleading its readers, by stating that the source of the whole report is one individual who they, with contradictions, describe as weed smoking, and a former SARS Employee.

"The Sunday Times must decide if it wants to be a Newspaper, or Newsletter of the Rogue Unit. It’s direction under Tiso Black Star, and evidently under the new owners, is completely factional and unethical. News platforms must always tell the truth, and should not be used as tools to shield political principals," EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said. 

Ndlozi said the the Public Protector's remedial actions are binding, unless set aside by a court of law. 

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