SARS appoints an external Committee of Investigation on complaints against its CEO

sarsPRETORIA, 3 September 2014 – The South African Revenue Service (SARS) is a crucial fiscal institution in a democratic South Africa. It is an institution whose very foundations are built on the trust and the credibility that South African taxpayers confer on it.

To safeguard the integrity of SARS and its processes, as Acting Commissioner Mr. Ivan Pillay, has appointed Advocate Muzi Sikhakhane (SC) to lead an external Committee of Investigation into complaints of impropriety against Mr. Johann van Loggerenberg, a senior SARS official.
Mr. Van Loggerenberg has been placed on special leave.
The complaints against him were made by Ms Belinda Walter, an attorney and the director of Belinda Walter Attorneys in Pretoria. The details of their relationship and complaints against the respective parties have been widely reported on in the media over recent weeks.
The Committee of Investigation will be tasked to examine and report on whether there were—
  • Any breaches of SARS processes, policies or codes including violations of taxpayer confidentiality, the oath of secrecy prescribed for SARS officials or procedures of good governance
  • Any instances where a conflict of interest arose;
  • Any instances of unlawful or illegal interception of information occurred;
  • Evidence of engaging in corrupt activities;
  • Acts of impropriety in general in terms of any law, as well as any allegation that may come to light during the course of the investigation.

The Committee has been instructed to conclude its investigation and present its findings to the Acting Commissioner within 45 days of being established, unless compelling circumstances dictate otherwise.
As Chairperson, Advocate Sikhakhane will exercise his discretion to appoint any independent Junior Counsel as well as any independent attorney at law to assist the Committee in the execution of its duties.

SARS will commit to provide all the necessary and required support to the Committee.
On 11 June 2014, SARS established a panel of review, chaired by an independent, external attorney to verify facts surrounding Ms. Walter’s complaint. Although the panel of review did not prove any wrongdoing or breaches of the law on Mr. Van Loggerenberg’s part, I consider it paramount to further investigate the issues that were raised in Ms. Walter’s complaint so as to safeguard the integrity of SARS and the trust the South African public has bestowed on our institution.
Therefore, I have decided that a new and completely external Committee be mandated to delve into the observations made by the previous panel of review regarding possible breaches of taxpayer confidentiality, of conflict of interest and of procedures of good governance.

The findings of this Committee of Investigation will be made public.
SARS will not make further public statements on the matter at this stage.