Johannesburg – The Merebank Justice Network plans to raise at least R100 000 to help with the legal costs of former South African Revenue Service officials implicated in what has become known as the Sars Wars.
The network, made up of “progressive professionals”, is hosting a fund-raising dinner for the officials concerned at the Enchanted Gardens (Old Durban International Airport) in Isipingo, Durban, on Friday night.Among those embroiled in the saga are Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, Ivan Pillay (both originally from Durban) and Johann van Loggerenberg.
The so-called Sars Wars refers to the “war” raging between government departments over the formation of an alleged intelligence unit by Sars meant to gather information regarding contravention of tax laws.Dr Ashok Chandika, the convener of the network, said the fund-raising dinner was sold out and they expected between 450 and 500 people to attend.
Speakers will include former Constitutional Court judge Zac Yacoob, who will be speaking on the state of the country, while Ipid head Robert McBride, fresh from his victory against his suspension, is expected to attend.
Chandika said they had decided to raise funds for the officials to go towards their legal fees should they be charged.
“We have been following the matters at national level like the threatened prosecution of the finance minister and Ivan Pillay, who is from Merebank. These are people who were active in the Struggle against apartheid.
“We have decided to assist if people are put through a selective and malicious prosecution, as we believe is the case here.”
He said a contingency fund set up would be used should they be charged. “Gordhan is still the minister and, therefore, his legal fees might be paid for by the state, but Pillay is no longer employed by the state.”