Moyane to answer for SARS decay
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?”