Are personal agendas harming Sars?

Political analyst Steven Friedman says the developments at the revenue service should be a warning.

Sars is embroiled in controversy for several months over the abuse of power & mismanagement.

JOHANNESBURG - With two of South Africa's most important state institutions now dealing with suspensions at the most senior level, questions have been raised about whether South African Revenue Service (Sars) Strategy and Risk head Peter Richer will approach the courts and about who is behind what appears to be political influence at Sars.

Richer was served with a suspension letter on Tuesday in connection with a so-called rogue spy unit after Sars rejected his reasons why he should not be temporarily relieved of his duties.

Hawks head Anwar Dramat is also facing suspension with senior Gauteng officials expected to follow soon.

Richer can now approach the Labour Court to fight his suspension but has been obliged to comply with the forensic investigations set up by Sars.

Political analyst Steven Friedman says the developments at the revenue service should be a warning about the extent of private influence over the institution.

"I think that what one needs to be concerned about is when private interests, criminal or otherwise are able to manipulate government so that they don't have to be subject to the law."

The Gauteng head of the Hawks as well as a lower ranking official still have five days to provide reasons why they should not be suspended.