SARS IT head Mmamathe Makhekhe-Mokhuane has been at home on discretionary leave for the past five months, News24 reports.
Makhekhe-Mokhuane reportedly believes she has been placed on leave due to her controversial interview on SABC Morning Live, where she responded to the interviewer with the phrase: “Mam, can you give me protection from yourself.”
The SARS IT head’s comments throughout the interview were deflective and combative, resulting in an awkward dialogue which has been mocked heavily since its airing.
SARS has not issued an official statement regarding Makhekhe-Mokhuane’s suspension and she said she is unaware whether she is being investigated for misconduct.
The service stated that it could not discuss employee-related information in the public domain due to its HR policies and practices.
Prior to her suspension, Makhekhe-Mokhuane earned R3.067 million for 11 months of work – a figure which has been criticised following the disastrous TV interview.
SARS previously stated that Makhekhe-Mokhuane is an experienced IT professional with IT diplomas and an MBA from the University of the North West.
The SARS IT head also testified before the Nugent Commission, which highlighted major concerns at the IT branch of the revenue service.
“In the 15 months of her tenure only one strategy meeting has been held. Of the 11 meetings with her subordinates she attended only four,” stated the Nugent Commission.
He added that the aggressive, indecorous, and unusual manner in which Makhekhe-Mokhuane gave evidence was not appropriate for a person in her position at SARS.
According to the report, SARS has appointed Tau Mashigo as acting chief IT officer while Makhekhe-Mokhuane is on discretionary leave.