The Office of the People’s Protector was hit again on Wednesday when former Sars executive Johann van Loggerenberg revealed in a parliamentary question that he had presented the office with evidence of state capture, which was ignored .
On the third day of Section 194’s investigation into the suitability of public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane to hold the post, came a lengthy testimony from Van Loggerenberg, who detailed Mkhwebane’s 2019 report on the “rogue unit ‘ by Sars.
< p>Van Loggerenberg told the committee that he had contacted the Office of the Public Protector to whistle at their offices in Hatfield in August 2016. This was before Mkhwebane was appointed to the post.
“I was sitting outside and met some people who showed me through security and checked me in. I sat there for a day-long interview, in which I shared my concerns [about] government capture at Sars.
“I left, having pledged to provide the Office of the Public Protector with certain documents, what I did…”
Effectively, Van Loggerenberg said what he was trying to explain was that “a fake and fraudulent so-called ‘intelligence dossier’ – which we all knew was mostly from a former Sars officials who had been fired for involvement in rhino poaching and possession of illegal firearms – dated around 2009 or 2010.”
He said: “At some point the document was circulated politically , and Sars responded extensively to the document in 2009 and again in 2010, including to MPs…”
The document, titled Project Snowman, followed another document that referred to the activity of compiling the Snowman document and listed the names of those involved.
“My concern was that from 2014 to 2015 and 2016 it looked like what Sars was doing was dissipating the nonsense snowman had never happened, nobody had ever heard of it and nobody had ever come to Sars to question the nonsense.
“It was like < i> Project Snowman was brand new and served as confirmation of the existence of evidence implicating this small investigative unit.
“What I provided to the Office of the Public Protector was more than sufficient Evidence that had it been considered, I doubt we would have seen report #36 of 2019 as we saw it at the end.”
He said in her summary report, Mkhwebane said, she tried to get documents from him but couldn’t because she couldn’t find him and therefore decided to send her Be to use subpoena powers.
“I say today that she had in her possession vast amounts of evidence that I had provided to her office which included my full contact information such as my email address and cell phone number included. I actually made a lot more available to the office.”
He said he didn’t know the address on the subpoena, adding that “it didn’t exist.”
Van Loggerenberg said he found it inscrutable that Mkhwebane couldn’t find him because he had written to her through his lawyers and asked her to please stop saying he was part of a rogue entity and stop saying they had killed people – this is a slander.
“That was before report 36 was completed,” said Van Loggerenberg.
He told the inquiry that he had not changed his home address since 2010 and his phone number has remained the same since the early 2000s.
Nazreem Bawa, Counsel for the Procurator, asked Van Loggerenberg during the trial to explain why he filed the affidavit and what he meant when he said: “What I put in this affidavit has never been such an erg not of my own choosing, but rather due to state conquest, various externally motivated events, situations and actions taken by Vario us humans that have directly impacted my rights, those of other innocent people, the Departments of State and the nation as a whole.
He responded by saying that during the time he worked for Sars he had been constantly attacked by various nefarious forces.
“Mainly these were People against components within the Treasury that were involved in law enforcement.”
Van Loggerenberg said as far back as 2009 it started to “intensify and devious”.
“It peaked against Late 2014, around October, in what I can only describe as a complex orchestrated propaganda campaign centered on a very much focused tiny investigative unit within the Treasury.
“It was extremely brutal and humiliating and personal to a whole lot of people and it became the excuse at that point to effectively capture Sars by unhooking people, bullying people, to prevent people from saying anything publicly that contradicted the propaganda would.”
< p>Over time, Van Loggerenberg said, “It was the proverbial blood in the water because there were a lot of other people who saw this as an opportunity to throw themselves into their own agendas that were with enemies of the tax authorities had begun.”
“There was blood in the water and the sharks were circling. They all joined the fight and Sars’ ability to counter it completely disappeared. In fact it capitulated and as a result we [sit] today with a weakened Sars.”
Van Loggerenberg said this compromised his rights as he was made the “poster boy for these alleged acts small entities had committed themselves to committed in the seven years of its existence, but also loyal officials, their family members, the foreign ministries and ultimately the nation as a whole.”
The externally motivated events played out on various platforms including the media, courts , civil courts, the Press Ombudsman, the Broadcasting Complaints Commission, independent panels and committees.
“I am still so traumatized by this, and many other people remain and probably will remain so for the rest of the day your life. None of that, we chose. We were not offered to drink the poison that was coming, and as a result this propaganda stayed and only became politically and otherwise meaningful to use at some point…to get something moving”.
Van Loggerenberg added: “It was a never-ending saga, and as I sit before you as a whistleblower, this drama is eight years old. That was my motivation (to make the affidavit).
He said the 2019 Bureau of Public Protection Report 36 was a case in point.