‘SARS rogue unit’ was established to ensure revenue was collected: Analyst

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Political analyst Lesiba Teffo says it is clear that the so-called South African Revenue Service (SARS) rogue unit was established to ensure that revenue was collected from those who sought to evade paying tax.

In yet another legal blow earlier this week, the High Court in Pretoria set aside Public Protector Mkhwebane’s report on the unit.  It also issued a punitive costs order against her.

This comes after Mkhwebane found that former SARS Commissioner Pravin Gordhan, who is the current Public Enterprises Minister, had misled Parliament by failing to disclose that he held a meeting with members of the Gupta family.

Mkhwebane also found that Gordhan had violated intelligence laws by overseeing the establishment of the unit.

However, the court said Mkhwebane relied on discredited information to compile her report.

Teffo says Gordhan has explained that the unit was established with good intentions.

He says, “Gordhan does own up that he was aware and I think what the presiding officer would be interested in was whether there was material benefit for him or not or even those who were working with him. I think it was about ensuring that revenue is collected from those whose intentions were suspicious. So, there was good intention and that is what is critical for me. The rest is just politics.”

Below is Lesiba Teffo’s full interview:

Meanwhile, the Claude Leon Foundation Chair in Constitutional Governance at the University of Cape Town, Prof Pierre de Vos, says this is the most scathing judgment against the Public Protector:

Mkhwebane says she is studying the High Court ruling: