Embattled finance minister Pravin Gordhan has revealed that the South African Revenue Service (SARS) dished out a whopping R20m in settlements to its former top officials, including Ivan Pillay and Johann van Loggerenberg.
Gordhan made the startling revelation in a reply to DA MP David Maynier’s written parliamentary question on whether the department had reached any severance agreements since 2006.
Maynier also asked Sars to explicitly write the settlement amounts if any severance agreement was reached.
Making further comments on the question; Gordhan, stated that the department actually made 13 severance packages to its former employees. He disclosed that the settlement amounts were paid in the following financial years: 2007/08 – R3.15m; 2008/09 – R1.67m; 2009/10 – R435 134; 2010/11 – R3.047m; 2013/14 – R375 048; 2014/15 – R1.681m; 2015/16 – R8.968m.
South African Revenue Service Refuses To Disclose Names Of Beneficiaries
However, due to confidentiality provisions of the agreements, Sars declined to unveil the names of the beneficiaries to whom the severance packages had been paid. The department also failed to state the reasons for the settlements; as doing such contravenes the Protection of Personal Information (POPI) Act.
Former top Sars officials Ivan Pillay and Johann van Loggerenberg are known to have benefited from the payout; – which forms part of the reason they are being hunted by Hawks. Pillay left Sars in May last year while Van Loggerenberg left in February 2015.
Last week; Pillay and Van Loggerenberg made their way to the Hawks office for a warning statement over the establishment of a rogue unit at Sars.
Sars’ former head of strategy Peter Richer and former head of tax and customs-enforcement investigations Gene Ravele are other senior officials who also left Sars in May 2015.
Embattled Gordhan is currently under fire for defying the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA); this, as alleged was when he granted an early retirement package of R1.2m to Sars’ former deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay.
Meanwhile, the National Prosecuting Authority has received Gordhan; Pillay and Van Loggerenberg’s docket from the Hawks. The NPA will now determine if the Hawks will prosecute the three men or not.