Sars IT boss's plea for 'protection from yourself' raises eyebrows

Mmamathe Makhekhe-Mokhuane during her testimony at the Nugent Commission on October 17.
Mmamathe Makhekhe-Mokhuane during her testimony at the Nugent Commission on October 17.
Image: eNCA Twitter

From pleas for "protection from yourself" to the Drakenburg Boy's Choir, the SARS boss has become an internet hit.

Video clips of the IT Chief officer at SARS, Mmamathe Makhekhe-Mokhuane, testifying at the Nugent Commission of Inquiry on Wednesday has left many South Africans gobsmacked, with some even questioning her health.

Makhekhe-Mokhuane first made headlines after an interview with Sakina Kamwendo on SABC's Morning LIVE went viral.

She was asked about IT restructuring but spoke about bursary programmes and then asked for "protection from yourself."

Makhekhe-Mokhuane also testified at the Nugent Commission of Inquiry into tax administration and governance at SARS.

When asked about her attendance at meetings, Makhekhe-Mokhuane said she understood the commission should focus on governance and not what she does as a chief officer.

"I want to put it on record that I am not going to sit here and discuss whether I attended meetings, and operational meetings for that matter, because as and when I get assignments, I get them through the commissioner. I think this is beyond a waste of your time. Your time, in my understanding of your terms of reference, is to look at the governance, but not what I do as a chief officer, including when I go to the bathroom. Wth due respect, sir.  Please protect me. Please."

SARS IT chief Mmamathe Makhekhe-Mokhuane and Judge Robert Nugent got into a heated exchange during the SARS inquiry on October 18 2018. South Africans took to social media to express their disappointment in the behaviour of the SARS boss.

She was also asked for an explanation about her comments relating to "people who have been at SARS for many years" and replied with information about the Drakensburg Boy's Choir.

She told the commission that since she started in her position in May 2017, there has not been one strategy meeting.

Andre Rabie, the acting group executive for IT strategy and architecture, testified on Monday that the e-filling system was at risk of collapse as a direct result of a decision made by suspended commissioner Tom Moyane.

On Twitter, reaction varied from anger to concern for Makhekhe-Mokhuane's health.

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