New SARS head of IT previously dismissed for “misconduct”

The new acting chief officer at SARS in charge of all IT systems, including e-filing and system refunds, was dismissed from his previous job at the Limpopo department of health for misconduct.

Kgabo Hlahla is now one of the most senior managers at the revenue service. He is the acting chief officer of digital information services and technology.

In May 2016, he was listed as the group executive of strategy and architecture at SARS at a conference on regional interconnectivity in Senegal.

In 2015, The Sowetan newspaper ran a story 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 that were placed under administration after financial mismanagement was uncovered, the paper 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.

Moyane-ordered investigation

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

Insiders at SARS told News24 that since Hlahla’s promotion to chief officer there have been questions among staff members about his appointment.

They alleged that there appeared to not have been any advertising for the post, no shortlist, no panel and no pre-employment screening.

They wondered why if he was dismissed from the department of health in Limpopo, a role which would have seen him have access to a smaller budget, he would be appointed in a far more complex job with a massive budget at SARS.

In response to a media query on the appointment, SARS said commissioner Tom Moyane “only learnt of the issues around Mr Hlahla at the SCOF [standing committee of finance] meeting on Tuesday, 28 March 2017”.

The revenue service said Moyane undertook to look into the matter and he 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”.

Hlahla, according to the records of the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission, is an active director of six companies, including an IT company.

“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 29 March 2017. It is important to note that his dismissal occurred whilst he was already at the employ of SARS,” SARS said.

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

“SARS will follow its internal processes to give Mr Hlahla a fair chance to respond to these matters fully.”


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New SARS head of IT previously dismissed for “misconduct”