Sars ‘whis­tle-blower’ dis­ci­plinary halted

The Star Late Edition - - POLITICS - ZELDA VENTER

VLOK Syming­ton, a legal spe­cial­ist who has worked at Sars for the past 25 years and was at the cen­tre of an al­leged hostage drama at its of­fices, will not face a dis­ci­plinary hear­ing next week as planned.

Sars yes­ter­day agreed to post­pone the hear­ing un­til the high court in Pre­to­ria ruled whether it should con­tinue.

Syming­ton asked the court for an or­der to in­ter­dict Sars and its com­mis­sioner, Tom Moy­ane, from in­sti­tut­ing dis­ci­plinary pro­ceed­ings against him.

He faces charges of in­sub­or­di­na­tion, un­be­com­ing con­duct, the use of abu­sive lan­guage and bring­ing Sars into dis­re­pute.

Syming­ton made head­lines when he was al­legedly held hostage by the Hawks on Oc­to­ber 18 last year, shortly be­fore then fi­nance min­is­ter Pravin Gord­han was charged with fraud.

Syming­ton said he now faced dis­ci­plinary charges and pos­si­ble dis­missal for hav­ing made “pro­tected dis­clo­sures” to the In­de­pen­dent Po­lice In­ves­tiga­tive Di­rec­torate (Ipid), the Na­tional Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tions and to Sars, as to what hap­pened that day.

He said he could not face dis­ci­plinary ac­tion as he was pro­tected by the Pro­tected Dis­clo­sures Act.

Syming­ton laid com­plaints fol­low­ing his or­deal, but said he had been the one to face a dis­ci­plinary hear­ing and not the real cul­prits, which he said in­cluded Moy­ane’s body­guard, Tabo Titi.

These com­plaints re­late to Syming­ton al­legedly be­ing held hostage in a Sars board­room by Hawks of­fi­cials and Titi.

At­tor­ney Thipe Mothle had been asked by Sars to in­ves­ti­gate whether there was a case.

Mothle is­sued a re­port, clear­ing Syming­ton and ad­vis­ing that ac­tion be taken against Titi.

But a month later, Sars told Syming­ton and Titi that they faced a dis­ci­plinary hear­ing.

Syming­ton asked Ipid to in­ves­ti­gate.

Sars said it had in­sti­tuted dis­ci­plinary ac­tion against Syming­ton based on his con­duct on Oc­to­ber 18, and not on what hap­pened af­ter­wards.

Judge Hans Fabri­cius has been told by Sars that Syming­ton can­not rely on the Pro­tected Dis­clo­sures Act, as the charges were based on his con­duct and not on in­for­ma­tion he had dis­closed to any­one.

Syming­ton’s coun­sel said the case had noth­ing to do with whether he would re­ceive a fair dis­ci­plinary hear­ing or not, but rather whether he should be pro­tected as a whis­tle-blower.

PIC­TURE: ZELDA VENTER

Vlok Syming­ton, left, in the high court in Pre­to­ria.

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