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What Pravin Gordhan thinks about the goings on at SARS

Finance Minister's replies to parliamentary questions from David Maynier MP

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

QUESTION FOR WRITTEN REPLY

QUESTION NUMBER: 989 [NW1119E]

DATE OF PUBLICATION: 11 APRIL 2016

989. Mr D J Maynier (DA) to ask the Minister of Finance:

(1) Whether any investigation(s) into allegations surrounding the alleged covert intelligence unit in the SA Revenue Service (Sars) have been conducted; if not, why not; if so, (a) what were the terms of reference of each investigation and (b) what was the (i) total cost and (ii) breakdown of such costs of the investigation(s);

(2) whether the investigation(s) produced any reports; if not, why not; if so, in respect of each specified report, (a) what was the title of the report and (b) on what date was the report (i) finalised and (ii) received by (aa) him, (bb) Sars and (cc) the Sars Advisory Board and (iii) made public?

 NW1119E

REPLY:

This is a highly contentious matter. It has been further complicated by leaking of documents, a concerted campaign of vilification and even the initiation of criminal charges. The trail of injustice that has characterized this process thus far is evident to all. Under the circumstances the Honourable Member will appreciate that I will, based on legal advice, not venture into past or present details except to say that the South African Revenue Service, as a revenue collection agency, plays an important part in enabling the government to deliver services to its people and as such needs to focus on its core mandate.

It should be noted that some of the detail requested has been provided in a response to a previous parliamentary question.

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

QUESTION FOR WRITTEN REPLY

QUESTION NUMBER: 2388 [NW2770E]

DATE OF PUBLICATION: 4 NOVEMBER 2016

2388. Mr D J Maynier (DA) to ask the Minister of Finance:

(1) Whether he (a) was informed of and / or (b) took any action with regard to the footage of a hostage drama that allegedly unfolded at the SA Revenue Service which surfaced on 27 October 2016; if not, in each case, why not; if so, what are the relevant details in each case;

(2) whether he will make a statement on the matter?

 NW2770E

REPLY:

(1)

(a) No, the Minister of Finance was not informed by the South African Revenue Service regarding this matter.

(b) No to date, the Minister of Finance has not been provided with any formal explanation by SARS on this matter.

 (2) What has appeared in the public domain is completely unacceptable. Mr Symington is a person of great expertise and a person of integrity that I have worked with for many years.

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

QUESTION FOR WRITTEN REPLY

QUESTION NUMBER: 2683 [NW3174E]

DATE OF PUBLICATION: 2 NOVEMBER 2016

2683. Mr D J Maynier (DA) to ask the Minister of Finance:

(1) Whether a certain person (name furnished) was authorised by the SA Revenue Services to send a letter to the Business Day, which was published on 28 November 2016, entitled Gangster Ratings Agencies; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details;

(2) whether any disciplinary action will be taken against the specified person; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details;

(3) whether he will make a statement on the matter? NW3174E

REPLY:

This information is provided by the South African Revenue Service (SARS).

(1) No. Mr Lebelo was not authorised by SARS to send a letter to the Business Day which was published on 28 November 2016 entitled “Gangster Ratings Agencies”.

(2) No, SARS will not be taking any disciplinary action against Mr Lebelo as he wrote to the Business Day in his private and personal capacity.

(3) No.

As far as the Ministry is concerned:

a) Mr Lebelo, as a senior and influential manager in SARS, should not be commenting on a sensitive and serious matter such as ratings in the public domain;

b) Mr Lebelo’s attack on the ruling party, the ANC, is both from a point of ignorance and unwarranted;

c) He displays a complete lack of understanding of the role of borrowing money both locally and from foreign lenders in helping to finance our social programmes for the poor. It is the very same poor people and the vulnerable middle class South Africans, the vast majority of whom are black, who will be affected by rising interest rates and prices should the South African sovereign lose its investment grading.

d) Finally, his letter to the media indicates clearly that he writes in two capacities – one of which is “Group Executive of Employment Relations, SARS”.

e) Surely, he cannot be allowed to attack the very government that pays his salary on a matter that is of importance to all South African’s – except those who pursue an ignominious agenda against the national interest – with impunity?

f) The SARS management must account for their lack of action in this matter.

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

QUESTION FOR WRITTEN REPLY

QUESTION NUMBER: 2683 [NW3174E]

DATE OF PUBLICATION: 2 NOVEMBER 2016

2683. Mr D J Maynier (DA) to ask the Minister of Finance:

(4) Whether a certain person (name furnished) was authorised by the SA Revenue Services to send a letter to the Business Day, which was published on 28 November 2016, entitled Gangster Ratings Agencies; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details;

(5) whether any disciplinary action will be taken against the specified person; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details;

(6) whether he will make a statement on the matter? NW3174E

REPLY:

This information is provided by the South African Revenue Service (SARS).

(4) No. Mr Lebelo was not authorised by SARS to send a letter to the Business Day which was published on 28 November 2016 entitled “Gangster Ratings Agencies”.

(5) No, SARS will not be taking any disciplinary action against Mr Lebelo as he wrote to the Business Day in his private and personal capacity.

(6) No.

As far as the Ministry is concerned:

g) Mr Lebelo, as a senior and influential manager in SARS, should not be commenting on a sensitive and serious matter such as ratings in the public domain;

h) Mr Lebelo’s attack on the ruling party, the ANC, is both from a point of ignorance and unwarranted;

i) He displays a complete lack of understanding of the role of borrowing money both locally and from foreign lenders in helping to finance our social programmes for the poor. It is the very same poor people and the vulnerable middle class South Africans, the vast majority of whom are black, who will be affected by rising interest rates and prices should the South African sovereign lose its investment grading.

j) Finally, his letter to the media indicates clearly that he writes in two capacities – one of which is “Group Executive of Employment Relations, SARS”.

k) Surely, he cannot be allowed to attack the very government that pays his salary on a matter that is of importance to all South African’s – except those who pursue an ignominious agenda against the national interest – with impunity?

l) The SARS management must account for their lack of action in this matter.

Issued by Parliament, 6 January 2016