Former South African Revenue Service spokesperson Adrian Lackay has claimed he feared the wrath of Sars Comissioner Tom Moyane when resigned in 2015 without stating his true reasons for his abrupt departure in his resignation letter.
This emerged during Sars’ cross examination of its former employee on Friday in the on-going Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) arbitration between Lackay and Sars.
Lackay seeks compensation for what he claims was constructive dismissal, saying that he suffered at the hands of his former boss (Moyane) in the months following a 2014 Sunday Times article which referred to a rogue unit, which spied on high profile figures among other illicit activities, established at Sars.
While Lackay claims that after the story broke, his superiors rendered the conditions at his workplace unbearable, Sars’ lawyer Wisani Sibuyi put it to Lackay on Friday that he left because the ‘rogue unit’ saga had damaged his reputation as a spokesperson.
Sibuyi also put it to Lackay that, as stated in his resignation letter, the communicator also resigned because he had other employment prospects.
But Lackay disputed this, stating that his decision to omit his true reasons in the letter was informed by growing tensions at the institution and the resignation of former Sars Chief Operator Barry Hore.
Lackay said that he became aware of a disciplinary procedure against Hore after the former executive stated his reasons for resigning and he (Lackay) feared that he would meet a similar fate.
At the time it had already been announced that a report on an investigation led by Advocate Muzi Sikhakhane, would be made public. It was this report that confirmed the existence of a covert unit at the institution.
Lackay pointed out that the Sikhakhane report had not yet been made public and that he was not privy to its findings until after he resigned.
This, he said in a bid to illustrate that he could not have predicted that his official statements denying the existence of a covert unit at Sars in the years prior to the Sunday Times report, would be contradicted by the findings in the report.
The arbitration has been postponed to April 3.