Disciplinary for Sars chief Tom Moyane. File picture: ANA
Pretoria - A Former senior executive at the SA Revenue Service claimed on Wednesday that she was pushed out for blocking suspended commissioner Tom Moyane and Jonas Makwakwa from dealing directly with big taxpayers, including owners of multinational companies.

Another senior executive said she was fired for trying to implement ethical rules that sought to prevent senior executives, including Makwakwa - former chief officer for business and individual tax - from having love affairs in the workplace.

These were some of the damning testimonies heard against Moyane and Makwakwa during the second sitting in Pretoria on Wednesday of the commission into lax administration and governance in Sars.

Sunika Manik, who was head of Sars Large Business Centre (LBC), a unit which collects billions of rand in tax revenue, told the commission that her troubles began when Moyane and Makwakwa struck a settlement with owners of one of the multinational companies.

“They concluded the deal with one of the owners. The settlement agreement was then referred to the LBC settlement committee which rejected the deal. The committee found that the agreement did not make any sense,” Manik said.

Manik, who had been working at Sars for the past 23 years before the axe fell on her in February 2016, said the LBC had robust governance systems which did not allow anyone having contacts with high network taxpayers and their refunds.

In her testimony, Manik was adamant that Moyane and Makwakwa wanted to commit “fraud” by targeting companies which had a lot of money. 

She said on November 10, 2015, Makwakwa summoned her to his office - at the time Sars was undergoing restructuring processes including retrenchment.

“I had applied for a job as Group Executive, Investigative Audit because my previous job was not on the proposed organogram of Sars.

READ: Sars employees reveal culture of mistrust, fear under Moyane

“While in Makwakwa’s office, I was told my application was not successful and he suggested I go to Sars Academy. I did not see any reason because that was my initial job,” Manik said.

She said the next day, a circular was doing the rounds informing staff that a new acting head of LBC had been appointed.

“I was still at home. I got calls from fellow employees. They replaced me with one of my junior officers,” Manik said.

She said more troubles came as she was barred from attending revenue committee meetings. In January 2016, Manik said she was told that she did not get a security clearance because she failed to conduct a polygraph test.

“It was a shock to me. I was appointed in 2011 as head of the LBC. No mention of a polygraph test was made,” Manik said.

She said that prompted her to lodge a grievance with Pravin Gordhan - then finance minister, but she later abandoned the action.

Earlier, Tshebeletso Seremane - former group executive integrity promotion - testified about her plans to introduce Clause 6 on Workplace Romance to prevent “certain people who are either wives or girlfriends” of senior executives from getting undue favours.

“That affected the morale in the organisation.

“You were guaranteed a bonus if you were a girlfriend of a senior executive.

“It was for that reason that human resources approved the promotion of Makwakwa’s girlfriend Kelly-Ann. I wanted to stop those things from happening,” Seremane said.

She said her troubles grew more when she wanted to implement a code of conduct for senior executives, saying “one of the senior officials told me that I wanted to control their lives”.

She also said she was given a junior position which she declined and as a result was dismissed last year.

The commission continues.

The Star