The National Association of Democratic Lawyers (NADEL) is appalled by the evidence given before the Nugent Commission of Inquiry into tax administration and governance at South African Revenue Service (SARS) by the former head of the SARS Advisory Board (retired Judge Frank Kroon). Judge Kroon told the Nugent Commission that the SARS Advisory Board blindly endorsed the Sikhakhane Report, which found that the SARS “Rogue Unit” was established and operating unlawfully. Judge Kroon shockingly told the Commission that the Advisory Board should have not have made the Findings because they did not have sufficient evidence placed before them and the affected parties should have been given an opportunity to give evidence or make representations. Simply put, Judge Kroon admitted that he failed to adhere to basic, simple and fundamental principles of legal procedure, protocols and evidence (which any final year law student would know). Judge Kroon also told the Commission that he approved the restructuring of the revenue service’s operating model without knowing a thing about the one that was currently operational. His evidence constitutes a confession of incompetence and a serious breach of duty and conduct by a judge. The evidence that should not be allowed to go without consequences for Kroon J.
What makes the actions of Judge Kroon so catastrophic is the national importance of his Findings and the devastating effects that it had on SARS and its officials. Judge Kroon was not dealing here with a small community Stokvel (not to imply that a community Stokvel does not deserve proper administration of justice) but he was dealing with the country’s Receiver of Revenue. The Report carried significant weight because it was endorsed by a Judge. The Former SARS Commissioner, Tom Moyane, used the report of Kroon as the basis for suspension and removal of senior employees within the Receiver and caused them serious reputational damage and personal financial losses.
NADEL calls upon the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) to hold an enquiry into the fitness of Kroon J to sit as a Judicial Officer, retired or otherwise, in any other legal matter and to also remind the public at large, of the JSC’s continued authority over judges and retired judges. This may also give Kroon J an opportunity to explain why, as one of the oldest and most experienced judges in SA, he adopted such shocking procedures in a matter of national importance and consequence. Was he under any threat or any unlawful pressure at that time? Is he in good health? The judiciary as a whole is owed an explanation and the country collectively needs to have its confidence in the reputation of all judges, restored. Only retired Judge Kroon can put this to rest. “
ISSUED ON BEHALF OF THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF DEMOCRATIC LAWYERS (NADEL), SOUTH AFRICA,
BY: The Office of NADEL National Secretariat,
National Executive Committee,
Nolitha Jali, (Secretary General)
071 689 3705
08 October 2018