Former staff members at Sars have testified about an environment of mistrust at the agency under suspended Sars Commissioner Tom Moyane’s leadership. Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency/ANA

Johannesburg - Suspended Sars Commissioner Tom Moyane will on Friday appear before the commission of inquiry investigating tax administration at Sars.

Moyane’s lawyer Eric Mabuza wrote to the inquiry’s head Judge Robert Nugent requesting an opportunity to appear before the inquiry which began on Tuesday.

Nugent wrote back to Moyane’s lawyers confirming that he would be allowed to give his testimony on Friday.

Moyane was not scheduled to appear. 

The disgraced commissioner’s request was likely to have been motivated by the numerous testimonies of former Sars employees over the last three days since the commission began.

Former commissioner Pravin Gordhan testified on Tuesday and spoke of his strained relationship with Moyane. He also spoke of his attempts to enquire about the planned restructure at Sars - that many staffers said was unnecessary.

Those that have testified this week pointed to Moyane as the reason why numerous staffers were fired or resigned at the agency since his appointment in 2014.  

An environment of mistrust plagued staffers as numerous cameras were installed  around the building.

Former deputy Sars commissioner Ivan Pillay testified on Thursday and defended the establishment of the High Risk Investigative Unit, also known as the “rogue unit”.

Pillay said the unit did its job well and was able to tackle a number of illicit dealings as it worked closely with the intelligence agencies.

“I think overwhelmingly they did the right thing. Is it possible that somethings went wrong, I think that’s possible. By and large the unit did great things.

“Unlike a normal auditor this unit would be prepared to sit outside a gate and see how many trucks left a factory. They did work on Krejcir. They did work on illicit gold dealing where we made huge breakthroughs,” said Pillay.

The establishment of such units was not unusual and many countries had them in place, said Pillay.

The former head of compliance, Gene Ravele, also testified that the inspection of cigarette companies was halted by Moyane’s right hand-man Jonas Makwakwa.

The commission also heard how Makwakwa interfered in the VIP tax unit and often asked about the status of individual taxpayers.

Makwakwa resigned earlier this year under a cloud of  controversy over his links to a supply company that was contracted to Sars. 

The inquiry continues.

Political Bureau