‘SARS withheld information of importance from me‚’ former spokesman Lackay tells CCMA
\n Sibongile Mashaba And Nelly Selepe | 2017-01-23 12:34:41.0\n \n \n \n \n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n \n\n \n\n\n \n \n
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\n Former South African Revenue Services (SARS) spokesman Adrian Lackay has told the Commission for Conciliation‚ Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) that his relationship with the taxman had turned sour‚ leading to his resignation.\n
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Lackay took the stand at the stand on Monday in his fights against SARS in a constructive dismissal case.
He stated under oath that he was responsible for media management and to do that he needed to have a good relationship with commissioner Tom Moyane.
Lackay said he was reporting to company secretary Giorgio Radesich for administrative purposes only.
His lawyer‚ advocate Paul Pretorius‚ put it to his client: “You resigned on 19 February 2015 after your relationship with SARS became intolerable.”
Lackay confirmed this. “SARS withheld information that was of importance or related to the media from me‚” Lackay said under testimony.
“At the end of the day‚ any journalist would want to know that information you provide is credible‚ truthful‚ verifiable and as transparent as the law permits‚” he said.
Asked what risks there were if someone in his position did not have the correct information‚ Lackay said: “There are… multiple risks to your own reputation and integrity‚ but also to the reputation and integrity of the institution should it be found that you misled the media willingly‚ and there will forever be question marks over what you say publicly in future‚ the truthfulness of what you communicate going forward.”
He said he was employed as a spokesman in September 2003 and was responsible for overall media management.
“I would be responsible for establishing good working relations with media. Another leg of that function would be crisis and reputational or risk management… ”
Lackay said there were exceptions made as to who would communicate with the media but‚ even then‚ he would have to authorise it.
Pretorius has previously told commissioner Joyce Nkopane that Moyane and other SARS senior leaders had unfairly sidelined Lackay and his duties as a media manager. He was earning more than R1-million per annum.
Pretorius said that‚ in the period from November 7‚ 2014 to the date that Lackay resigned‚ he was overlooked by Moyane and other senior SARS officials who took it upon themselves to communicate on matters about the attack on the state body by the “rogue unit”.
Last year‚ Nkopane admitted documents handed in by Lackay which relate to the “rogue unit” to be used as evidence in the case.
The hearing continues. – TMG Digital/Sowetan
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