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High level of distrust between Gordhan and Moyane - DA

Apr 08 2016 21:17
Matthew le Cordeur

Cape Town – Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s Parliamentary response to a query regarding the SA Revenue Service (Sars) reveals a “high level of distrust” between himself and Commissioner Tom Moyane, according to Democratic Alliance MP David Maynier on Friday.

RELATED: Gordhan: Sars can legally conduct criminal probes

Maynier received a written response to a question to Gordhan, questioning if Sars can use tools for the interception of communication, as alleged in the Hawks probe into an investigation unit set up during Gordhan’s tenure as commissioner.

“It is not within the Sars mandate to administer such activities directly,” Gordhan replied on Friday. “With the information at Sars disposal no such requests were made or approved either directly by Sars or indirectly through a third party.”

However, what was significant in the reply, said Maynier, was Gordhan’s statement that the above information was “provided by Sars and cannot be verified by the minister”.

"It's significant that … Gordhan distanced himself from the information on the interception of communication provided by Sars,” Maynier told Fin24.

RELATED: Moyane: Ask Hawks if Gordhan should be probed

“The fact that the minister distanced himself illustrates the high level of distrust between the minister and the commissioner over the Sars wars."

Gordhan told press, whilst seated next to Moyane last week, that their professional relationship was a “work in progress”.

Relations between the two have been strained as Moyane has been accused of purging Sars executives that helped Gordhan transform Sars into the respected institution.

Moyane is also allegedly behind the probe into the alleged illegal “rogue” unit, which Gordhan said this week was lawfully created when he was at the helm of Sars.

This year, Moyane openly defied Gordhan’s commandthat all restructuring plans at Sars be halted.

It was reported in February that Gordhan threatened to resign if Moyane wasn’t fired, after the Hawks sent him questions about the unit on the eve of his budget speech. Gordhan has since answered the questions.

Gordhan told the Hawks in March that the unit was an essential part of Sars’ enforcement strategy “as it is with most tax and customs administrations globally”.

FULL STATEMENT: Gordhan responds to Hawks

"In respect of the legality of the investigation unit established during my time as commissioner of the South African Revenue Service, I believed that the unit was lawfully established to perform very important functions for and on behalf of Sars.

“The unit did not initially have a name but was later successively known as the Special Projects Unit, the National Research Group and the High-Risk Investigations Unit.

“I participated in the decision to establish the unit in February 2007.”

treasury  |  sars  |  pravin gordhan  |  tom moyane  |  rogue unit


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