SARS executives, Ivan Pillay and Johann van Loggerenberg, have given public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane a deadline to apologise for her alleged false and defamatory statements.
The duo sent a letter through their lawyers demanding that Mkhwebane publish an apology, a full retraction of her “defamatory statements”, and “immediately remove the defamatory statements from all media platforms, including all publication under your control (and not limited YouTube, Twitter and Facebook)”.
The letter warns that if she fails to act on their demands by 10am, then: “our clients may take such actions as they maybe advised … Our client’s rights are reserved”.
One of the statements, Mkhwebane made during a gala dinner, and she was quoted saying: “threats of arrest for money-laundering etc and poisoning since I started investigating the so-called rogue unit”.
The lawyers are arguing that her statements were untrue and defamatory and suggest that Pillay and Van Loggerenberg were part of a Sars unit that operated unlawfully and dishonestly.
They are also disputing the public protector’s statements which suggested that as part of the unit, they were allegedly responsible for people’s deaths.
The lawyers believe that her statements paint their clients as murderers and also insinuate that they: “are planning and conspiring to commit further murders and efforts to taint the reputations of others”; that they conspired to frame Mkhwebane for money laundering and other crimes”.
The two believe that her statements were dangerous, irresponsible, damaging and “promoted propagating hatred against the two”.
The spokesperson of the public protector, Oupa Segwalwe, confirmed that they received the letter but she was unable to comment because she was in Egypt