A letter sent by a senior staff employee accuses suspended Sars boss Tom Moyane of sidelining Indian people in general and women in particular.
“I was told by another general executive, who mentioned that the commissioner hates Indians,” said the letter written by former employee Sunita Manik, who was head of the state tax collector’s Large Business Centre (LBC) at Sars.
“From a gender perspective, when I sat on the executive committee there were three women. With the appointment of the new executive committee, women have been excluded,” Manik added.
The letter, which has been placed before the Nugent Commission inquiry into alleged misconduct at Sars accuses Moyane of being an “ego-driven despot” who was “bloated with self-importance”, News24 has reported.
Manik, who sent the letter to then finance minister Pravin Gordhan in 2016, says that she was “harassed, victimised, bullied and marginalised” while at Sars.
The grievance was lodged not only against Moyane but against Jonas Makwakwa too. Makwakwa was Sars chief officer for business and individual tax, and thought to be Moyane’s right-hand man.
Last week it was alleged during the Nugent enquiry that Makwakwa had ordered a “crucial” inspection of cigarette companies to be halted.
Manik also accuses Moyane and Makwakwa of “creating an environment of subterfuge and fear”, Sars, under both men, had “weak functional knowledge and poor leadership”.
Manik served at the company for 22 years, performing successfully at a senior level for the LBC.
She says what took 10 years to build was compromised in less than six months. At least two partners of external firms had indicated they had seen a flurry of CVs from the LBC. More than 30 people had already left.
Manik’s letter details the slide at Sars from one of South Africa’s most trusted institutions into a place fraught with mistrust and mismanagement.
Prior to the tenure of Makwakwa and Moyane, the letter states, SARS was respected for being the most efficient government department and was often complimented in Parliament. “The current leadership has brought SARS into disrepute,” she says.
“The commissioner and many of his appointees have practically non-existent functional knowledge and even weaker leadership credibility. Across SARS, many decisions have come to a standstill,” the ex-employee said at the time.
President Cyril Ramaphosa suspended Moyane from his duties as head of the revenue collector on March 19, pending disciplinary proceedings.
Over the course of the four tax years Moyane was in charge, SARS missed its revenue targets by an accumulated total of close to R100 billion.
The inquiry will continue this coming week.