SARS lawyers said on Monday that they would be called to testify at the Commission for Conciliation‚ Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) to test claims made at the hearing of “ousted” former spokesman Adrian Lackay.
Lackay faced intense cross examination at the Johannesburg offices of the CCMA on Monday. His case centres on what he claims was his constructive dismissal from the institution.
Lackay‚ who resigned from SARS in February 2015‚ says he was “forced” out of the organisation because of a breakdown in working relations with Moyane and Makwakwa.
Makwakwa is on suspension after R1.3 million over and above his salary was allegedly deposited into his bank account.
The poor working conditions relate to Lackay being excluded from meetings and media briefings on allegations that SARS operated a “rogue spy unit” and the subsequent resignations of senior staff‚ Ivan Pillay and Johann van Loggerenberg.
Pillay was SARS deputy commissioner while Van Loggerenberg was the institution’s group executive. The “rogue unit” allegations were later found to be baseless.
In previous sessions of his CCMA hearing‚ Lackay testified that his working conditions were untenable and that he was regarded identified as a “problem” in SARS communication machinery.
Lackay was grilled by SARS lawyer‚ Wisani Sibuyi who asked whether he [Lackay] “hated” Moyane and his management style.
“You claim that management wanted to get rid of you … that you were targeted‚ yet management never got rid of you. They never disciplined you.”
Sibuyi said he would show that Lackay was “rude” and “disrespectful” towards senior SARS management.
“An example of this‚” said Sibuyi‚ “is a leave application you put in. You were instructed to meet with Moyane and inform him of this but never did‚” he said reading from an email Lackay’s line manager had sent him.
“In this email you were admonished. Your line manager says to you that you ignored his request‚ not once but three times.
“We will show that you are rude and disrespectful. That you deliberately disobey lawful instructions.”
Lackay responded that he had never neglected his work duties.
“I tried to do my work‚ while things were hidden from me when SARS was in serious trouble in the media.
“On crucial decisions – especially the period in which there was intense negative media headlines over the so-called rogue unit – the institution made sure I was kept out of the loop. Keeping me out of the loop meant that I couldn’t do my work properly.”
Lackay – highlighting the statements released on Pillay and Van Loggerenberg’s resignations – he said he was kept in the dark about them.
“I was later briefed by a Babs Naidoo‚ who handled internal communication and marketing‚ and told that there would be a new working order‚ that communications would be done differently‚ and that he would be working closely with me.
“I received an email from Makwakwa‚ who has no media communication knowledge‚ and told the communications team would be beefed up.”
He said as SARS spokesman he would have expected to be consulted about this‚ “especially if there was a problem with how communications were done”.
Sibuyi said Lackay’s complaints were petty. “SARS never complained about your work. Management was entitled to beef up their staffing structures as they did … It’s like them wanting to hire an extra cleaner. Would you have wanted to be consulted on that? All they had to do was inform you which they did.”
“I will be calling Moyane and Makwakwa to testify‚” said SIbuyi‚ adding they were being called to test the testimony given by Lackay.
Proceedings continue on Tuesday.
– TMG Digital/The Times