Sars' Vlok Symington tells Zondo Inquiry about being held hostage by Hawks

Vlok Symington said he advised Pravin Gordhan in a memorandum that it was lawful for Ivan Pillay to take early retirement and return to the revenue service

A screengrab of South African Revenue Service (Sars) employee Vlok Symington giving evidence at the state capture inquiry on 24 March 2021. Picture: SABC/YouTube

JOHANNESBURG - South African Revenue Service (Sars) employee Vlok Symington recalled how the Hawks held him hostage in a boardroom at the revenue service and then snatched a printed email from him.

Symington testified at the state capture commission about an email from Dr JP Pretorius, an official of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) who had advised then-NPA head Shaun Abrahams to reconsider charges against Pravin Gordhan, Ivan Pillay and Oupa Magashula.

Vlok Symington said that he had advised Gordhan in a memorandum that it was lawful for Pillay to take early retirement and return to the revenue service.

But when Tom Moyane decided to lay charges against Gordhan and others, the memorandum was not considered.

Symington said that the Hawks wanted to know where an email on withdrawing the charges had originated from and who had seen it, so they wanted his printed copy.

“They said that they would let me go if I hand over that letter of the NPA to them. In return, they would hand their letter to me. There was a moment when I really thought: 'This is not going to turn out good'... four huge men from the Hawks and they were not letting me out.”

Symington said that Moyane withheld information from the Hawks and the NPA when he laid the charges.

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