They appointed and promoted girlfriends, wives - Sars inquiry hears

They appointed and promoted girlfriends, wives - Sars inquiry hears

Current and former Sars officials are testifying on the second day of public hearings at the Commission of Inquiry into the revenue service.

Sars branch Pretoria

The South African Revenue Services' (Sars) former Head of Integrity claims the former head of business and individual tax, Jonas Makwakwa, approved his girlfriend Kelly-Ann Elskie's promotion even though she was not qualified - and that it was not an isolated incident.


"We saw Mr Makwakwa approve the promotion of Ms Kelly-Ann to a senior post, and you even had HR that actually approved such a promotion," Tshebeletso Seremane told the Commission of Inquiry into tax administration and governance at Sars on Wednesday.


She says there were many similar cases in which a "girlfriend" or a "wife" was appointed to a position, claiming had proper procedures been followed, it would have been rejected.

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Seremane, who worked on the revenue service's code of conduct, also expressed concern over the conduct of senior officials outside of revenue service.


She was referring to a 2016 letter by Luther Lebelo, a communications officer at Sars, aimed at ratings agencies in which he refers to them as "nothing but organised economic gangs" and "our former oppressors".


"It's a concern, because we cannot have a senior employee of Sars writing such on a newspaper," says Seremane.


Seremane says she took the matter up with Hlengani Mathebula, the Chief of Governance, International Relations, Strategy and Communications who merely responded that Lubelo had written it in his personal capacity.


Lebelo penned the letter in the name of the Progressive Professionals Forum but Seremane told the inquiry she understand the article was written on a Sars letterhead.


The then finance minister Pravin Gordhan also said in January 2017 he believes Lebelo should not have penned the letter.


Gordhan, currently the Public Enterprises Minister, testified before the inquiry on Tuesday.


He spoke specifically of the manner in which the team he was part during his time at Sars built the revenue service from the ground to become one of the most respected government institutions.

On Wednesday, Seremane also testified of her dismissal:

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