The chief officer of strategy and communication at South African Revenue Service (Sars) Hlengani Mathebula might have been employed in his current position in violation of the authority’s policies, News24 reported.
According to the report, Mathebula is allegedly a friend of suspended Sars commissioner Tom Moyane who may have violated the authority’s policy on conflict of interest by allowing Mathebula to join Sars.
Mathebula was reportedly taken on at Sars while on the BMW SA board and Moyane allegedly wrote a letter dated January 4 2016, which the news website reported being in possession of, informing Mathebula that he could remain on the BMW SA board while at Sars’ employ whilst he, Moyane, worked on Mathebula’s “compensation for loss of benefits”.
The letter Moyane wrote to Mathebula reportedly came after the latter raised concerns during negotiations about joining Sars.
Mathebula’s hiring was brought to acting commissioner Mark Kingon’s attention by the vetting office requesting him to urgently look into the matter via an email sent to Kingon on March 27 this year, a few days after Moyane was placed on suspension.
In March, Mathebula confirmed with the conflict of interest unit that he still served on the BMW SA board because the compensation issue had not been resolved.
The conflict of interest matter of Mathebula’s employment has been flagged by one senior staffer at Sars as a possible risk in terms of governance and the authority’s reputation.
Apparently, officials at the tax authority said Mathebula and Moyane are close allies and that Mathebula had allegedly influenced certain decisions taken by Moyane.
It is alleged that Mathebula served on the BMW SA board for two years while at the employ of Sars.
The authority’s policy on conflict of interest reportedly does not allow for employees to be directors of a public or private company while doing business with the government.
Sars apparently responded by saying Mathebula served on the BMW SA Group’s board until May this year.
“Employees already engaged in WoS (Working outside SARS) prior to joining SARS have to apply within (30) calendar days of their appointment. Such employees may continue to engage with their private interests until such time as SARS has made a decision with regards to the application. Mr Mathebula adhered to this policy or any (other) SARS policy relating to his private interests,” Sars was quoted.