Moy­ane to an­swer for SARS de­cay

Sunday Times - - Business Times - By

ROX­ANNE HEN­DER­SON and PERICLES ANETOS

● Sus­pended South African Rev­enue Ser­vice (SARS) com­mis­sioner Tom Moy­ane is ex­pected to face the mu­sic for his role in the degra­da­tion of one of the coun­try’s most trusted in­sti­tu­tions.

The dis­ci­plinary charges, re­lated to al­leged mis­con­duct and other or­gan­i­sa­tional fail­ures, were served on Moy­ane this week.

One ex­am­ple of the in­sti­tu­tion’s short­com­ings is the R50­bil­lion in tax rev­enue it failed to col­lect last year.

Moy­ane, who was ap­pointed in 2014, was sus­pended from his po­si­tion last month over his han­dling of the al­le­ga­tions against his for­mer sec­ond-in-charge, Jonas Mak­wakwa, as well as his al­leged han­dling of a VAT re­pay­ment linked to the Gupta fam­ily.

Re­tired Con­sti­tu­tional Court judge Kate O’Re­gan will pre­side over the in­quiry.

Econ­o­mist Lumk­ile Mondi said un­der Moy­ane’s lead­er­ship con­fi­dence in SARS’s abil­i­ties — once one of the best in­sti­tu­tions post-1994 — had gone down.

“To the South African com­mu­nity at large it is dif­fi­cult to jus­tify why they should be pay­ing taxes when in­sti­tu­tions have been re­pur­posed for pri­vate pur­poses,” Mondi said.

“This is a big step for­ward as we try to clean up and root out those that have un­der­mined our con­sti­tu­tional state.”

When ratings agency Moody’s up­graded the coun­try’s out­look from neg­a­tive to sta­ble re­cently, it sin­gled out SARS as one of the in­sti­tu­tions that could start to re­cover as a re­sult of the change in po­lit­i­cal lead­er­ship.

Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa had ini­tially of­fered Moy­ane a set­tle­ment, which he turned down. Moy­ane then added con­di­tions to the ini­tial of­fer, which re­port­edly in­cluded that Ramaphosa hold a press con­fer­ence to an­nounce the civil res­o­lu­tion. He also re­quested that the pres­i­dent ac­knowl­edge his up­right lead­er­ship and his over­sight role in SARS rev­enue col­lec­tion reach­ing the tril­lion-rand mark for three years.

Keith En­gel, CEO at the South African In­sti­tute of Tax Pro­fes­sion­als, said he was sur­prised that Moy­ane had re­fused the deal on the ta­ble.

“The real is­sue for SARS go­ing for­ward is how many of Moy­ane’s ap­pointees are go­ing to be rooted out. It’s clear now it’s come down to one clan ver­sus an­other,” he said.

“So go­ing for­ward, are we go­ing to keep the old SARS crowd or will the re­moval of Moy­ane and Mak­wakwa be fol­lowed by fur­ther res­ig­na­tions and re­movals?”

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