There are many ways to become a household name in South Africa: But SARS IT chief Mmamathe Makhekhe-Mokhuane did it in the worst imaginable manner. Her bizarre interview with SABC went viral, as she failed to answer basic questions and demanded protection from the anchor. It seems that day was a fateful one for her.
We’ve had it confirmed by the legal team representing Makhekhe-Mokhuane that they are now seeking answers as to why their client has been placed on leave for the last five months. News24 obtained documents from Raselo Attorneys, where MMM asked the Acting SARS Commissioner if she had been suspended or if she was under investigation.
Mmamathe Makhekhe-Mokhuane and her journey to infamy
It’s understood that she was placed on discretionary leave at the end of October 2018. Following her car-crash interview, the IT specialist was then summoned to the Nugent Inquiry, which aimed to uncover the rot that had seeped into the tax firm during Jacob Zuma’s term as president.
She cut a divisive figure in the dock, as she adopted a standoffish tone with the panel and was even deemed “arrogant” by Judge Robert Nugent himself. This was seemingly the final straw for the organisation, who then told Mmamathe Makhekhe-Mokhuane to stay put at home.
It’s been more than five months since she was last at work, but the executive has not been removed from her position and has continued to receive her salary. We reached out to SARS for further comment, but they stonewalled us with our queries:
“As in-keeping with SARS’ HR policies and practices, internal processes and information related to its employees [are] deemed confidential between the organisation and its employees. Therefore, we won’t discuss this matter publicly.”
SARS IT Chief hasn’t been back to work for five months
We spoke to Moeketsi Raselo – the lawyer representing Mmamathe Makhekhe-Mokhuane – who said he would issue a full response to our inquiries in due course. According to him, he can only answer written questions upon the instruction of his client.
Makhekhe-Mokhuane has effectively become a figure of both derision and hatred. The comical aspect of her public appearances was compounded by the fact she holds one of the most important jobs in the country and didn’t seem very good at it. Her gaffe coincided with the trouble SARS were having with their IT systems, prompting her interview.
Instead of putting out a fire, she doused petrol all over it. But hey, no-one was talking about the technical issue after her garbled performance, right?
Oh, and just in case you forgot. Here’s how it all went wrong for the IT official:
SARS Chief Officer Digital & IT: Mmamathe Makhekhe-Mokhuane 😂😂😂😂😂it’s bad😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭 pic.twitter.com/UsGEF2TTv0
— Azania Afrika (@SAYoungLion) October 17, 2018