NEWS
11/01/2018 11:59 SAST | Updated 11/01/2018 12:28 SAST

SARS IT Executive Kgabo Hlahla Allegedly Dismissed

In September last year, SARS downplayed allegations of misconduct at his previous state job. Now, apparently, he has been fired.

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(Photo by Gallo Images / Rapport / Deon Raath)

A South African Revenue Service (SARS) executive who oversaw IT systems at the revenue service has, according to insiders, been dismissed.

News24 has reliably learnt that Kgabo Hlahla, the group executive of strategy and architecture, digital info and technology, who was in charge of systems including e-filing and system refunds, was dismissed last month.

The reasons given for his dismissal were media reports regarding his dismissal from his past employment, non-disclosure, and being employed by two government institutions at the same time.

It was reported in April last year that Hlahla, then newly appointed, had been dismissed from his previous job at the Limpopo department of health for misconduct. The report referenced a 2015 story in The Sowetan about two senior officials in the Limpopo department of health who had been dismissed for misconduct.

One of the officials was Hlahla, who was the department's information technology officer.

The department was one of five departments in the province placed under administration after financial mismanagement was uncovered, the newspaper reported.

The Sowetan said it had discovered that Hlahla was "facing charges after he had authorised the purchase of computers meant for the emergency medical services".

The computers were found gathering dust in a storeroom at Polokwane Hospital, where they had remained unused.

Hlahla was suspended during the investigations until his dismissal in 2015.

Dismissed

SARS said at the time that commissioner Tom Moyane "only learnt of the issues around Mr Hlahla at the SCOF [standing committee of finance] meeting on Tuesday, March 28, 2017".

The revenue service said Moyane had instructed the SARS human capital and development division to "verify the matter, including the inspection of the documents relating to Mr Hlahla's application, recruitment and declaration of interests, amongst others".

"The commissioner of SARS was only made aware of Mr Hlahla's suspension and subsequent dismissal by his former employer, the department of health in Limpopo, on the March 29, 2017. It is important to note that his dismissal occurred [while] he was already [in] the employ of SARS."

The revenue service said it had instituted a full investigation into the matter.

But in September, in response to an opinion piece in the Daily Maverick, SARS said that a preliminary investigation into Hlahla's dismissal from his previous job in Limpopo "could not discover anything untoward or inappropriate".

"SARS has made it clear that the appointment of Mr Hlahla was done properly and as such, there was no reason to act against Mr Hlahla in any way.

"It is important to note that as SARS, we are dictated to by the laws of this country to respect employees' rights, which [include] Mr Hlahla's.

Dismissed without fanfare

But SARS insiders have told News24 that in September last year, Hlahla was given notice of an intention to suspend him, and he was asked to provide reasons why he shouldn't be suspended.

In December, without any fanfare, he was dismissed, they said. When questioned about his dismissal, Hlahla would not comment.

SARS spokesperson Sandile Memela said that the revenue service was prohibited by its HR policies and practices from divulging or discussing details of internal processes and employee information.

"Disciplinary procedures against employees are confidential, and deemed an internal matter. Disciplinary procedures are managed accordingly. SARS is therefore not in a position to comment," Memela said

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