DA to table Sikhakhane report in Parliament if Moyane won't
25 March 2015
In today's Standing Committee on Finance, SARS commissioner, Tom Moyane, revealed that the Sikhakhane report into the so called "rogue unit" at SARS will not be released as it is "preliminary and inconclusive", and will be prejudicial to the ongoing investigations.
The report contains the findings of an external investigation by a panel led by Advocate Sikhakhane into the alleged wrongdoings committed by the SARS National Research Group. Following the conclusion of this investigation, and on the basis of the Sikhakhane report, there has been a mass exodus of senior officials who have either left the Revenue Service, been suspended, or have been redeployed to other divisions.
These officials include: Deputy Commissioner Ivan Pillay; Strategic Planning and Risk Group Executive, Peter Richer; Chief Operations Officer, Barry Hore; Deputy Chief Operations Officer, Jerome Frey; and Anti-corruption and Security Head, Clifford Collings.
There has been a considerable amount of controversy over the past months, with allegations strongly suggesting that the investigation is merely a front for a politically motivated purge within SARS.
Therefore, the DA has consistently requested access to this report in order to gain clarity on this, as the report forms the basis of the numerous suspensions and dismissals.
In December last year I submitted a Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) application in order to gain access to the report, which was unjustifiably stalled on "procedural grounds" by SARS officials on two separate occasions, and then finally rejected.
I then wrote to Speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, requesting that, as a matter of urgency, the report be tabled at the first sitting day in terms of rule 302 of the National Assembly.
This did not happen and I have yet to receive a response.
I then requested that President Zuma institute a Judicial Commission of Inquiry in terms of section 84(2)(f) of the Constitution.
This was also predictably ignored, and raises all sorts of questions around transparency and accountability, particularly how it is possible that masses of senior officials are suspended or dismissed on the basis of a report which is inconclusive, and which no one has seen.
The DA is in possession of the Sikhakhane report, and in light of the glaring inconsistencies surrounding this matter I will table it at the very next sitting of the Standing Committee on Finance.
On reading the Sikhakhane report it becomes clear why there has been such resistance to the release of this report.
The report itself makes no mention of any transgressions relating to Ivan Pillay, Peter Richer or Clifford Collings nor does it make any or recommendations in this regard.
The question is therefore - on what basis were these senior officials suspended or dismissed if not for nefarious political reasons?
In addition to this, one of the recommendations the report makes is the establishment of a Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the matter, which the DA has twice called for.
Minister Nene was instead instructed to form an advisory committee, a toothless alternative to a Judicial Commission of Inquiry and thus not in line with the report's recommendation.
The DA is committed to ensuring that all state institutions are completely independent and free from undue political interference. In order to do so, the truth about the endless suspensions at SARS must be made public.
Statement issued by Dr Dion George MP, DA Shadow Minister of Finance, March 25 2015
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