SARS mum on Zuma spying allegations

The Revenue Service's intelligence unit reportedly broke into Jacob Zuma’s home and planted listening devices.

President Jacob Zuma. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Revenue Services (SARS) has declined to comment on reports that a former spy-master blackmailed the revenue service into paying him R3 million to keep silent about spying on President Jacob Zuma.

SARS's intelligence unit reportedly broke into Zuma's home and planted listening devices.

The Sunday Times says Zuma was unemployed at the time and had just been acquitted of rape.

SARS officials have refused to comment on the startling reports.

According to the newspaper, the spy, known as "Skollie", was head of the revenue service's covert special projects unit, later renamed the National Research Group.

The unit specialised in penetrating crime syndicates engaged in smuggling drugs, rhino horn and ivory.

However, its activities are now being investigated by the office of the inspector general of intelligence, the Hawks and SARS itself.

The Sunday Times has also reported that two months after Skollie's payout, SARS warned the unit's members to break contact with him.

The newspaper said there was also evidence that the unit illegally intercepted the emails and phone calls of taxpayers, and that SARS flouted its own policies to secretly recruit agents for spying purposes.