File picture: Ziphozonke Lushaba, Independent Media

Pretoria - Judgment was reserved in the urgent application lodged by Vlok Symington, a legal specialist who has worked at the South African Revenue Service for the past 25 years, to bar Sars from instituting disciplinary proceedings against him. 

Symington make headlines when he was at the centre of an alleged hostage drama at Sars on October 28, last year.

Sars agreed on Thursday to place the hearing on ice until the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, ruled whether it should go ahead or not.

Symington turned to court to ask for an order to interdict his employer and Sars Commissioner Tom Monyane from instituting disciplinary proceedings against him. 

He is facing four charges, which include insubordination, unbecoming conduct, the use of abusive language and bringing the name of Sars into disrepute.

Symington said that he now faces disciplinary charges and possible dismissal for having made “ protected disclosures” to the Independent Investigative Directorate (Ipid), the National Director of Public Prosecutions and to Sars as to what had happened that day. And subsequently. 

He said he could thus not face disciplinary proceedings as he was protected in terms of the Protected Disclosures Act, which protected whistleblowers. 

Symington laid complaints following his hostage drama ordeal, but said in a sudden turn of events, he was the one to face a disciplinary hearing and not the real culprits, which she said included  Moyane’s body guard, Tabo Titi.

Sars decided that both Symington and Titi had to face disciplinary charges.

These complaints relate to events at Sars head office when he was allegedly held hostage in the boardroom by Hawks officials and Titi. They at the time demanded certain documents from him which were eventually forcibly removed. It emerged that these documents contained an email trail between Sars, Advocate Torie Pretorius who was due to prosecute former finance minister Pravin Gordhan and others.

The document was mistakenly given to Symington when he was handed a series of questions he had to answer, relating to the Gordhan arrests. 

Sars on Thursday told the court that the charges against Symington and the subsequent disciplinary hearing followed Symington’s conduct on the day which he claimed he was held hostage and it had nothing to do with protected disclosures. 

Symington, on the other hand, said he should be treated as a whistleblower and that his employer had an obligation to protect him against the sensitive disclosures he had made. He is adamant that Monyane is behind the charges levelled against him, but Monyane denied this.