Johannesburg - The EFF remains adamant that a 65-page report which purportedly reveals that former SARS acting commissioner Ivan Pillay and Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan were aware of the SARS 'rogue unit', is not a classified document.
Gordhan and Pillay have repeatedly denied the existence of the unit and later claimed it was lawfully established.
EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu took to Twitter to defend the party’s decision to make public the report. “Classified by who and according to which Law? We released it and it’s available for everyone to read.”
The report of the Inspector General of Intelligence (IGI) was potentially leaked to the EFF in a raw format (without redacting sensitive intelligence information) and was attached as an annexure in the EFF’s court papers responding to the hate speech charges that Gordhan had laid against Julius Malema and Floyd Shivambu. It has since sparked a legal battle to keep it classified.
The report was compiled by the late Advocate Faith Radebe, who was responsible for intelligence oversight in the country. While for years the public only relied on news snippets to know was what contained in it, the decision by the EFF (on Monday night) to release the report, on their website and on social media, which was classified as “secret” has given a rare glimpse of how the unit which came to be known as the rogue unit, was established.
Pillay, former SARS employee Johann van Loggerenberg and Gordhan are mentioned extensively in the report.
Pillay’s attorney, Bernard Hotz, said his client disputes the accuracy of this report and the statements which are allegedly attributed to him and has since filed an affidavit in the North Gauteng High Court in the interlocutory application launched by the Minister of State Security, Ayanda Dlodlo, to ensure that this very report which is classified not be permitted to be utilised by both the Public Protector and the EFF.
“It will be abundantly apparent from a reading of the affidavit of Mr Pillay to which is annexed a very detailed affidavit deposed to by Mr van Loggerenberg that this report cannot be relied upon at all and amounts to nothing less than a travesty of justice. This matter will be heard shortly before the North Gauteng High Court,” he said.
The application was filed on Monday, the same day the EFF made the report available to the public.
Responding on behalf of Gordhan, his attorney Tebogo Malatji, said the Nugent commission found that the unit was lawfully established.
“You will recall that in the Nugent Commission’s Report, there is a finding that the Unit was lawfully established. The IGI report is an investigation that took place without Minister being interview(ed) or providing documents related to the issue of the lawfulness of the establishment of the Unit. You will also recall that the Minister has instituted review proceedings for the court to set aside the Public Protector’s findings that the unit was unlawfully established,” Malatji said.
Weighing in, Edward Zuma, the nemesis of Gordhan, who is also the son of former President, Jacob Zuma, said the report proves him right that “Gordhan is a liar”. He said he was once in the tobacco industry and Gordhan “harassed him” in order to protect his (Gordhan's) alleged interests at British American Tobacco (BAT).
Malatji denied Edward Zuma's claims.
Another nemesis of Gordhan, Tom Moyane, the former SARS commissioner who was axed in November 2018, took to Twitter late on Monday and said the truth will always come out. Moyane is on record saying he knew about the rogue unit at SARS and once said he even 'touched’ the equipment which was being used to illegally gather intelligence.