Court to rule on Sars deputy's suspension

Ivan Pillay's main claim is that he was suspended unfairly and that he must be reinstated now.

Suspended Sars deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay. Picture: Sars.

JOHANNESBURG - The Labour Court will announce this morning whether it will overrule the suspension of South African Revenue Service (Sars) deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay after he was suspended following an investigation into a rogue spy unit.

Pillay argued in court that he'd been removed from his office even though the panel investigating that unit made no findings against him.

His main claim is that he was suspended unfairly and that he must be reinstated as soon as possible.

But Sars Commissioner Thomas Moyane's lawyers have said it's up to him to decide whether Sars can live without Pillay while an investigation into this unit continues.

Key to this morning's decision could be the question of urgency.

Pillay says Sars is at a critical point in the tax collection cycle and that he has important institutional memory.

Yesterday, Moyane lifted the suspension of strategic planning head Peter Richer just as he was about to launch his legal bid to overturn it.

Pillay will now argue in court that Moyane is seriously damaging the organisation by suspending him and other top officials.

Since the new commissioner was appointed, he disbanded the revenue service's executive committee and suspended other top officials.

Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille claimed this was an attempt by President Jacob Zuma to capture Sars, a claim he denied.

The revenue service says it's not going to comment on this process but will let it run its course.

Pillay's case could reveal what's actually happening within the service.