JOHANNESBURG – The South African Revenue Service (Sars) has suspended a fifth executive, Mmamathe Makhekhe-Mokhuane, chief officer: digital information and technology services, in the ongoing purge of the organisation, which it said is based on recommendations of the commission headed by Judge Robert Nugent.
“Makhekhe-Mokhuane’s precautionary suspension takes effect immediately. It must be reiterated that these suspensions are precautionary in nature and as such do not amount to findings of any wrongdoing on the part of the executives concerned. A determination in this regard will only be made on the finalisation of the process,” Sars said in a statement yesterday.
“Sars requests that the privacy of the individuals concerned and the confidentiality of the employer-employee relationship be respected. Sars will not comment further on the matter until it's concluded.”
The Nugent Commission of Inquiry into Tax Administration and Governance by Sars said that during the four-year probe one central issue that had arisen was the massive “failure of integrity and governance at Sars” and recommended the axing of embattled former Sars boss Tom Moyane. Sars spokesperson Siphithi Sibeko would not be drawn to comment on any aspects of the ongoing processes in the organisation, which on May 1 saw the ascendancy of Edward Kieswetter as commissioner.
Makhekhe-Mokhuane joins four other executives on suspension: Hlengani Mathebula, the chief officer: governance, international relations, strategy and communications; Teboho Mokoena, chief officer: human capital and development; Luther Lebelo, the group executive: employee relations; and Refiloe Mokoena, chief officer: legal counsel.
Makhekhe-Mokhuane is infamous for the “protect me from yourself” moniker she coined during a media interview on the glitches at Sars.
In an October 2018 interview with Sakina Kamwendo on the SABC’s Morning Live programme, Kamwendo asked what needed to be done to fix the tax body’s IT infrastructure and Makhekhe-Mokhuane responded: “Ma’am, can you give me protection from yourself?”