Gord­han has warned of a se­cond agenda at play in sev­eral govern­ment in­sti­tu­tions

QUES­TIONS THE HAWKS WANT PRAVIN GORD­HAN TO AN­SWER

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Na­tional Trea­sury and Fi­nance Min­is­ter Pravin Gord­han equate an ef­fort by the Hawks to desta­bilise it ahead of the tabling of this week’s bud­get speech as a se­cond at­tempted coup on the pow­er­house depart­ment. The first at­tempt, they be­lieve, was in De­cem­ber, when min­is­ters were dra­mat­i­cally reshuf­fled, said Trea­sury of­fi­cials.

City Press has in­ter­viewed four sources in Trea­sury who char­ac­terise the events there as an at­tempted takeover by “shadow forces”. They agreed to speak only on con­di­tion of anonymity.

One said: “The real bat­tle in South Africa is to re­tain our sovereignty and de­fend our in­sti­tu­tions. To en­sure they are pro­fes­sion­ally run in the pub­lic in­ter­est.”

Gord­han’s con­flict with Sars com­mis­sioner Tom Moy­ane ex­ploded into a na­tional cri­sis on Fri­day as the gov­ern­ing ANC, the churches and the pres­i­dency went into un­prece­dented dam­age con­trol.

They threw up a wall of unity be­hind Na­tional Trea­sury and be­hind Bud­get 2016 as it stared down the Hawks probe.

City Press has es­tab­lished that Gord­han did not threaten to re­sign over the let­ter sent to him by the Hawks, or over Moy­ane’s con­tin­ued ten­ure at Sars, de­spite re­ports this week that he did.

How­ever, Gord­han did re­it­er­ate with political lead­ers across ANC party and par­lia­men­tary struc­tures that the cur­rent tax boss would be re­de­ployed. Gord­han also warned of a se­cond agenda at play in sev­eral in­sti­tu­tions, govern­ment sources told City Press this week.

Gord­han’s con­fi­dants say he is too sea­soned a politi­cian to threaten to re­sign or to have set con­di­tions for his reap­point­ment in De­cem­ber, when the econ­omy tanked af­ter the shock re­moval of Nh­lanhla Nene as fi­nance min­is­ter.

“By then, the dif­fi­cul­ties [with Moy­ane] were well known,” said one trea­sury source, “and thus there was an un­spo­ken ex­pec­ta­tion that Moy­ane would be moved.”

The en­mity be­tween Gord­han and Moy­ane is in­fa­mous.

Two se­nior Sars of­fi­cials told City Press that when Gord­han ar­rived unan­nounced at the Sars head­quar­ters the day af­ter his reap­point­ment as fi­nance min­is­ter, he re­fused to shake Moy­ane’s hand when he met him in the park­ing lot.

The of­fi­cials said Gord­han had tried to phone Moy­ane, but Moy­ane had ig­nored his call, and in the park­ing lot, Gord­han de­manded to know why and Moy­ane said he was “busy”.

Trea­sury of­fi­cials say that with­out a good re­la­tion­ship, tax moral­ity and com­pli­ance is com­pro­mised. Al­ready, the bud­get re­flected rev­enues that did not hit an­tic­i­pated tar­gets be­cause of de­clin­ing growth; and there are fears that Sars has al­ready been too desta­bilised to se­cure the col­lec­tions that un­der­pin the prom­ises Gord­han made this week.

The com­mis­sioner of Sars is ap­pointed by the pres­i­dent, but is man­aged by the fi­nance min­is­ter in terms of a re­cent law change to pro­tect tax­payer in­for­ma­tion.

Be­fore the law was amended, the com­mis­sioner was ap­pointed by the min­is­ter. Al­though 104 can­di­dates ap­plied for the post when for­mer Sars com­mis­sioner Oupa Ma­gashula re­signed, Zuma de­ployed Moy­ane to the job when Nene was fi­nance min­is­ter.

The ques­tions from the Hawks em­anate from an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into a spy unit that Moy­ane has pur­sued doggedly.

“In our view, this is a well-cal­cu­lated desta­bil­i­sa­tion plan,” the ANC said about a set of ques­tions that were sent to Gord­han a week be­fore the bud­get was re­leased.

On Fri­day, Gord­han said: “There is a group of peo­ple that are not in­ter­ested in the eco­nomic sta­bil­ity of this coun­try and the wel­fare of its peo­ple.

“It seems they are in­ter­ested in dis­rupt­ing in­sti­tu­tions and de­stroy­ing rep­u­ta­tions.”

1 Does the min­is­ter have any knowl­edge of the dis­band­ment of the Na­tional Re­search Group (NRG) in 2009 when you were the Sars com­mis­sioner, lead­ing to the es­tab­lish­ment of the High Risk In­ves­ti­ga­tion Unit (HRIU) or the “rogue unit”?

2 Were there any in­puts you gave for the es­tab­lish­ment of the NRG or the HRIU? 3Who

were the stake­hold­ers who would form part of the new unit?

4 Do you still re­mem­ber your­self as the com­mis­sioner of Sars rec­om­mend­ing the fund­ing model to the then min­is­ter Trevor Manuel in Fe­bru­ary 2007 for “fund­ing of an in­tel­li­gence ca­pa­bil­ity within Na­tional In­tel­li­gence Agency (NIA) in sup­port of Sars”?

5 How were the mem­bers of the unit re­cruited/se­lected? Were Sars re­cruit­ment pro­cesses fol­lowed?

6 How is it pos­si­ble that you re­cruit even be­fore fund­ing ap­proval is granted for such a ca­pa­bil­ity to ex­ist?

7 Kindly share with us or pro­vide a copy of the agree­ment be­tween the NIA and Sars.

8 What were the aims and ob­jec­tives [man­date] of the new unit and sub­se­quent op­er­at­ing en­vi­ron­ments as it changed its name?

9 Who was head­ing the unit and who was it re­spon­si­ble and ac­count­able to? 10Who

were Janse van Rens­burg, Jo­han de Waal, Jo­han van Log­geren­berg and Hel­gard Lombard at Sars, and what were their po­si­tions, roles and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties within the unit?

11As

the com­mis­sioner [ac­count­ing of­fi­cer] for Sars at the time, were you briefed about all key strate­gic op­er­a­tions?

. 11.1 Do you know any­thing about op­er­a­tion code named “Sun­day Evenings”? The bug­ging or in­stal­la­tion of so­phis­ti­cated sur­veil­lance equip­ment at Na­tional Pros­e­cut­ing Au­thor­ity of­fices?

. 11.2 Who au­tho­rised it? Is this in line with Sars’ man­date?

. 11.3 What were its ob­jec­tive and tar­gets? 12Do

you know or still re­mem­ber the HRIU man­date? 13Did

the min­is­ter of in­tel­li­gence [Ron­nie Kas­rils] ap­prove the es­tab­lish­ment of and iden­tify mem­bers of the NIA to work within HRIU? Pro­vide ev­i­dence.

14Were there things at Sars [when you have hap­pened­were the with­out com­mis­sioner]your knowl­edge?that would 15Did mem­bers of HRIU ap­pear on the Sars nor­mal em­ploy­ees’ pay­roll? Please ex­plain why some, if not all, unit mem­bers had two Sars iden­ti­fi­ca­tion cards [one with fake em­ployee de­tails].

16If this unit was op­er­at­ing le­git­i­mately, why were they op­er­at­ing from guest­houses, ho­tels, restau­rants and their pri­vate dwellings? Fur­ther, why were they not pro­vided with Sars lap­tops to store con­fi­den­tial in­for­ma­tion? 17How

was the fund­ing of the unit’s op­er­a­tions man­aged? Which cost cen­tres were em­ployed? 18Who

was the head of the unit and who was it re­port­ing to? 19Were

there any mem­bers of HRIU who did not have per­sonal files at Sars? Can you tell us why, if any? 20Who

au­tho­rised the pro­cure­ment of the sur­veil­lance equip­ment to be utilised dur­ing the unit’s op­er­a­tions? 21What

were Ivan Pil­lay’s func­tions at Sars from the pe­riod he started work­ing un­til he re­tired? The func­tions must also in­clude the pe­riod he was re­hired af­ter sub­mit­ting an early re­tire­ment from Sars. And what are his aca­demic qual­i­fi­ca­tions?

22Do you still re­mem­ber which year Ivan Pil­lay took an early re­tire­ment? 23Is it nor­mal in terms of Trea­sury or pen­sion fund reg­u­la­tions for any depart­ment to ac­cept its em­ployee’s early re­tire­ment?

24Why did you au­tho­rise that Sars must pay Ivan Pil­lay an early re­tire­ment penalty to the tune of R1.2 mil­lion?

25Kindly

ex­plain why Sars reem­ployed Ivan Pil­lay for three years and then ex­tended his con­tract to five years. In short, he was of­fered an ad­di­tional eight-year em­ploy­ment con­tract – why?

26We

be­lieve you are aware of the KPMG foren­sic in­ves­ti­ga­tions into the ex­is­tence of a rogue unit at Sars. Do you per­haps have a clue as to why such an in­ves­ti­ga­tion is con­ducted?

27Did

the min­is­ter of fi­nance re­ceive the KPMG re­port? If yes, have you read it since you took of­fice, or did you re­quest to be briefed about its con­tents by the deputy min­is­ter or the com­mis­sioner? Have you made any con­tact with Judge Kroon, the chair of Sars’ ad­vi­sory board on this mat­ter, who is sup­posed to ad­vise both your­self and the com­mis­sioner?

AT THE TOP Ja­cob Zuma

PHOTO: REUTERS / GETTY IM­AGES / BROOK MITCHELL

PINK POWER About 1 000 con­dom-like pink in­flat­able rings were given away yes­ter­day on Syd­ney’s fa­mous Bondi Beach as

part of a stay-safe cam­paign go­ing by the theme of Life­savers. The event aimed to pro­mote safe sex in the lead-up to the Syd­ney Gay and Les­bian Mardi Gras, set to take place on Satur­day

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