A senior SA Revenue Service (Sars) official last week narrated told a commission of inquiry into tax administration and governance how his relationship soured with suspended commissioner Tom Moyane, pictured.

Hlengani Mathebula who was responsible for enforcement at the Sars, was testifying at the Nugent Commission of Inquiry.

“Shortly after joining (Sars), in or around March 2016, I was appointed to act in the role of a chief officer: enforcement. This I did till June 2017. The functions in this portfolio included investigative audits, debt management, criminal investigations, compliance audit, excise and business support,” Mathebula testified before the inquiry, chaired by retired Judge Robert Nugent in Pretoria.

“My working relationship with (Moyane) started off the same way as most working relationships between an employee and employer starts - cordial, full of enthusiasm, optimism, goodwill and determination to work together for the betterment of Sars and the country. However, in and around May 2016, various developments ensued which soured the relationship between myself and the commissioner.”

Mathebula said at times he ex- pressed different opinions to that of Moyane, and other Sars executives “which was seen as opposition and, in some instances, even betrayal”. He said various investigations were instituted against him, and subsequently his portfolio was broken down.

“My refusal to carry out instructions that I deemed to be against policies and my conscience was seen by the commissioner as being non-committal,” said Mathebula.

He said one day Moyane had called him into his office and had given him a list of staffers that should be dismissed or suspended.

President Cyril Ramaphosa ap- pointed Judge Nugent in June to chair the commission to probe allegations of financial misconduct at Sars, including that it led to a revenue collection shortfall of R50 billion under Moyane. - African News Agency (ANA)