Parliament - The South African Revenue Service (SARS) is in possession of some 4,000 pieces of surveillance equipment, commissioner Edward Kieswetter said on Tuesday in response to a question from the Economic Freedom Fighters.
He said this ranged from simple voice recorders to video cameras to "more intrusive equipment".
Kieswetter, who was briefing Parliament's standing committee on finance, was repeatedly pressed on the issue by EFF MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi who reiterated the party's contention that SARS in the past fell foul of the law by establishing an intelligence gathering unit without a clear legal framework.
The narrative that SARS broke the law a decade ago when it established what later become known as the "rogue intelligence unit" has been kept alive by the EFF through a formal complaint to Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane that has now ended up in court with Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan contesting her findings.
Mkhwebane found that the unit, set up 12 years ago while Gordhan was SARS commissioner, was illegal and that it had conducted unlawful intelligence work. Gordhan, in his legal challenge, submits that Mkhwebane has allowed herself to be used as a weapon in a political war, waged by among others the EFF, against the Ramaphosa administration's bid to root out corruption and restore confidence in the country.