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Public Protector: Gordhan Violated Constitution Over Sars ‘Rogue’ Unit

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Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane on Friday said her office found Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan violated Section 41(1) of the Constitution when allowing a so-called South African Revenue Service (Sars) “rogue” unit to operate during his tenure as the tax agency’s commissioner.

Mkhwebane made the announcement during a press briefing on Friday in Pretoria.

The public protector found that establishment of the unit was in violation of the country’s intelligence legislation.

Mkhwebane said the complaint was laid by the Economic Freedom Fighters.

In December last year, the Press Ombudsman ordered the Sunday Times to retract all stories about its Sars “rogue” unit reportng, and to apologise in writing to former SA Revenue Service commissioner Pravin Gordhan and the others implicated.

Gordhan, former Sars deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay, and former Sars group executive for tax and customs enforcement investigations Johann van Loggerenberg laid a complaint against the Sunday Times after their series of reports in 2014 on Sars and an alleged illegal unit. The reports accused the unit of running a brothel and spying on President Jacob Zuma, among other things.

Mkhwebane ordered President Cyril Ramaphosa to “take appropriate disciplinary action” against Gordhan within 30 days.

The public protector also ordered that the minister should face an ethics investigation in Parliament. She also ordered the National Prosecuting Authority to finalise its prosecution into the “rogue” unit.


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