Sars finally responds to 'hostage situation' at its headquarters

A video has emerged showing Sars employee Vlok Symington being held against his will at Sars's headquarters.

A screengrab of Brigadier Nyameka Xaba, head of the Hawks CATS (Crimes Against the State) unit, who was allegedly involved in preventing Sars employee Vlok Symington from leaving a boardroom.

JOHANNESBURG/CAPE TOWN – Sars has now officially responded to the evidence that one of its top legal officials was held in a boardroom against his will and forced to give up an email showing that a Sars lawyer disagreed with the decision to prosecute Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.

Sars says it notes the material and that it will investigate the issue where its members are concerned.

This morning it emerged that Vlok Symington had been held against his will and had videotaped the incident when he refused to give up a hard copy of the email.

These reports first emerged late on Wednesday night and stated that Nyameka Xaba, head of the Hawks CATS (Crimes Against the State) unit, and Sars Commissioner Tom Moyane's bodyguard had kept Symington against his will.

Then video evidence of the incident emerged.

Now, nearly 18 hours after the first reports emerged, Sars has issued a three-line statement in which it says it notes the reports and that where members of the Hawks are concerned, inquiries must be directed to them.

But it says where Sars officials are concerned, a full investigation will be conducted.

While addressing a joint meeting of Parliament's standing and select committees on appropriations and finance earlier today, Gordhan was asked by opposition Members of Parliament what he knew about Symington allegedly being held for questioning against his will.

Gordhan said if true, the matter demanded urgent attention.

“The incident at Sars, I heard whispers about it to be frank. I have no formal report yet, I haven’t had a chance to look at it and I will ask Moyane for some explanation as soon as I get a chance. If this is true, it’s unacceptable behavior.”

It’s understood Moyane accidentally e-mailed questions from the Hawks to Symington, which he in turn refused to hand over.

Gordhan says he’ll be investigating the matter.