The Public Protector had called four SARS officials to a meeting after she was tipped off to investigate the legitimacy of Ivan Pillay’s early retirement from SARS.
The Public Protector’s communications manager, Oupa Segalwe, told News24 that a meeting between Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane, South African Revenue Service (SARS) former deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay, former SARS commissioner Oupa Magashula and senior SARS official Vlok Symington and Minee Hendricks, who was Gordhan’s personal assistant at SARS, went well on Monday, 25 March 2019. The details of the meeting have not yet been disclosed.
SARS came under the spotlight when several resignations from senior officials began rolling in and changes to job descriptions were made, following former commissioner Tom Moyane’s controversial plans to sweep changes at SARS.
The public protector received a tip-off to investigate into Pillay’s early retirement, who then returned to SARS on a senior position after having retired as deputy commissioner in 2010. He was allowed to take early retirement at the time and was given a pension fund top-up to make up for the shortfall of the early retirement. In that same year, Pillay returned to SARS on a senior position contract.
Pillay’s early retirement was authorised by Pravin Gordhan, who was SARS commissioner at the time. Although Pillay and Gordhan were charged with fraud in connection to the early retirement authorization in 2016, the charges were later withdrawn by Prosecutor Shaun Abrahams after his findings revealed there was no wrong-doing during the authorization process.
However, the Public Protector received a complaint citing a case of maladministration, dishonesty and improper conduct by Gordhan in dealing with public funds.