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Exodus at SARS continues as two more senior staff members quit

Friday, 10 April 2015   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Author: Natasha Marrian
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Author: Natasha Marrian (BDlive)

At least two more senior staffers at the South African Revenue Service (SARS) are understood to have quit, bringing to 10 the number who have left in the past six months.

On Wednesday it was confirmed that Yolisa Pikie had resigned. He was the special adviser to Ivan Pillay, who is also under suspension.

Gene Ravele, chief officer for tax and customs enforcement investigations, is understood to have also quit, but was persuaded by Commissioner Tom Moyane to stay on. Mr Ravele, however, last night said he had not resigned.

The revenue service has since November lost enforcement head Johann van Loggerenberg, anticorruption head Clifford Collings, executive for strategy and planning Peter Richer and chief operations officer Barry Hore. They had held critical posts.

Deputy spokeswoman Marika Muller had also resigned, following former spokesman Adrian Lackay who left earlier this year.

It is understood that SARS has not accepted the resignation of Mr Pikie as it wants to pursue disciplinary charges against him. He faces charges of destroying two SIM cards and allegations of presenting fraudulent qualifications.

The resignations bring the number of senior staffers who have left the organisation over the past six months to 10, with deputy commissioner Mr Pillay and Mr Richer still suspended.

SARS employment relations executive Luther Lebelo on Wednesday was reluctant to comment on staff movements as employee information was confidential.

He said staff movements were normal. It was "simply inaccurate" to draw inferences or speculate on the reasons behind the movements.

Staff movements were "part of the life cycle of any organisation and one cannot link this in any way to the Sikhakhane report (over a ‘covert’ unit) and any other reason in isolation", he said.

The report was the basis for action against senior officials.

The ructions at SARS prompted the Treasury to appoint an advisory committee, headed by retired Judge Frank Kroon, to oversee its operations. The committee has to guide strategy at SARS but its immediate task is to examine allegations over the existence of the "covert" unit.

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