SSA trying to intimidate PP - EFF

Fighters say IG report has confirmed illegality of SARS Rogue Unit


Sunday,10 March, 2019

The EFF condemns the attempt by the State Security Agency (SSA) to intimidate and interfere with the work of the Office of the Public Protector. We have learned through news reports, that the SSA, under Minister Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba, has opened the case against the Public Protector for correctly receiving information which confirms the existence of the Rogue Intelligence Unit at South African Revenue Services (SARS), during Pravin Gordhan's tenure as Commissioner.

Section 181 (4) of the Constitution, which establishes Chapter 9 Institutions, including the Office of the Public Protector, says that, "No person or organ of state may interfere with the functioning of these institutions". The actions of Minister of State Security, are therefore unconstitutional and patently illegal.

The Public Protector has received the report of the Inspector General on Intelligence, which confirms the illegality of the Rogue Unit and now in defence of Pravin Gordhan, Minister Letsatsi-Duba is threatening the Office of the Public Protector with criminal prosecution. The EFF is well aware that this is a ploy to prevent the office of the Public Protector from confirming the fact that there was an illegal intelligence unit against Section 209 of the Constitution established at SARS under the leadership of Pravin Gordhan.

The EFF is concerned with this interference, because we are the ones who lodged a complaint with the Office of the Public Protector, and requested that she must investigate the illegal SARS Intelligence Unit, which we suspect continues to exist under Ivan Pillay and Johan van Loggerenberg. Opening a criminal case against the Office of the Public Protector is pure opportunism aimed at preventing the Public Protector from confirming the existence of illegal unit.

Section 209 of South Africa's Constitution says, "Any intelligence service, other than any intelligence division of the defence force or police service, may be established only by the President, as head of the national executive, and only in terms of national legislation". Pravin Gordhan and his friends established an illegal intelligence unit in SARS, and the Public Protector must be allowed to conduct investigation without threats of criminal prosecutions. All affected parties have a recourse to challenge the findings of the Public Protector in Court, so there is absolutely no need to interfere with her work even before the report is finalized.

We further call on the Public Protector to finalize the report, because the rogue unit continues to exist. The Public Protector must remain firm, and not be intimidated by incompetent and factional Ministers who are preventing the Office from fulfilling its constitutional mandates and obligations.

Statement issued by the Economic Freedom Fighters, 10 March 2019