EFF deputy Floyd Shivambu has questioned the amount of privilege afforded to former South African Revenue Service (Sars) deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay who, according to Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane, did not possess the necessary qualifications to be appointed to the job.
When Mkhwebane asked whether Pillay was appointed without the necessary qualifications, Sars in its response dated February 5, 2019, did not dispute that Pillay did not have a degree or even a matric certificate.
The report further stated that, despite the lack of a degree, Pillay met the requirements for the Sars commissioner position, according to Sars executive committee member Oupa Magashula.
Sars further stated that Pillay had occupied the position of deputy commissioner, a position that was approved by cabinet, but strangely noted that there were no records to show that Pillay had been appointed as commissioner of Sars. Mkhwebane found that there was no job description in their records for the position of deputy commissioner and that the position was, in fact, a role and not a position at the revenue service.
Pillay had occupied a position of Chief Officer: Strategy, Enablement and Enforcement.
Shivambu, alongside others on social media, have cried double standards following the finding.
Shivambu, in a tweet, accused the media of defending Pillay.
“What form of privilege is this? A personal friend of Pravin doesn’t possess any qualifications, yet was appointed to senior positions in SARS, became its acting Commissioner, established and operated an illegal intelligence unit, [was] given an unlawful pension payout. Defended by Media.”
This was followed by questions on why former SABC COO, now African Content Movement leader, Hlaudi Motsoeneng was ridiculed for not having a matric.
SARS confirmed that Ivan Pillay had no matric but Pravin appointed him Deputy Commissioner of SARS.
Why was Hlaudi attacked and not this one? pic.twitter.com/hAyRPmVCkU
— Sentletse (@Sentletse) July 6, 2019
Pravin says there was no qualifications requirement to be Deputy Commissioner of SARS. But he approved the job spec that excluded qualifications requirements because he wanted to appoint someone with Grade 2 to the position. ????????????♂️
— Sentletse (@Sentletse) July 6, 2019
Mkhwebane has recommended that President Cyril Ramaphosa act against Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan for having violated the Constitution for granting early retirement and a pension payout to Pillay. She found that Gordhan had acted improperly in authorising the pension payout.
Gordhan was charged by the National Prosecuting Authority for the early retirement debacle in 2016, although the charges were dropped by then prosecutions boss Shaun Abrahams.
While Mkhwebane found Pillay had not possessed the necessary qualifications, Pillay has, through his lawyers, said his qualifications for the appointment had been taken into account, and it was found he was equipped to fill the position. He said Mkhwebane, when referring to his lack of a degree, had omitted the fact that he had gained the skills, equivalent experience, and leadership experience required.
“Our client did not recieve a copy of the report from the Public Protector prior to the aforsaid media briefing.
“Mr Pillay emphatically denies all of the findings which are factually and legally flawed. Some of the findings demonstrate: (i) a complete lack of an understanding of SARS as an institution; (ii) some of the findings are patently false; and (iii) it is apparent that misinformation has been provided to the Public Protector.”
They said that once Pillay and his legal representatives had studied Mkhwebane’s report, Pillay intended to institute the appropriate legal action for the protection of his rights.
Pillay was also implicated in setting up what has become known as the Sars rogue unit.