South Africa

SARS: Moyane axed as commissioner in blunt statement from Presidency

By Daily Maverick Staff Reporter 19 March 2018

The Presidency confirmed in a statement on Monday night that President Cyril Ramaphosa has informed South African Revenue Service (SARS) Commissioner Tom Moyane of his suspension with immediate effect pending the institution of disciplinary proceedings. By DAILY MAVERICK STAFF REPORTER.

President Ramaphosa said it was in the public interest to restore the credibility of SARS without delay, the Presidency statement said.

Late on Monday night the National Treasury issued a media statement to the effect that Mark Kingon had been appointed Acting Commissioner for the South African Revenue Service.

In the earlier letter to Mr Moyane, President Ramaphosa said:

Developments at the SARS under your leadership have resulted in a deterioration in public confidence in the institution and in public finances being compromised. For the sake of the country and the economy, this situation cannot be allowed to continue, or to worsen.”

Concern was raised in particular about the manner in which Moyane handled the matter of Jonas Makwakwa, his treatment of the report given to him by the Financial Intelligence Centre, and his failure to immediately report this to the Minister of Finance.

Another concern that was raised was the management of VAT refunds, which had brought SARS “into serious disrepute and potentially jeopardised the integrity of the SARS as collector of revenue and adversely affected tax morality among tax payers”, the Presidency said.

The decision to suspend Moyane follows a meeting in which President Ramaphosa informed Moyane that the president had lost confidence in his ability to lead SARS and offered him an opportunity to resign with immediate effect, which Mr Moyane had declined.

President Ramaphosa indicated that as SARS Commissioner, Moyane holds a high position of trust in the management of the country’s public finances. It was therefore necessary to act urgently and immediately to protect the institution and place it on a path to stability and recovery.

Mark Kingon, who replaces Moyane in the interim, is currently Acting Chief Officer: Business and Individual Taxes with SARS. He has been at the revenue service since its establishment, Treasury said, and had worked his way through the ranks to become Group Executive: Relationship Management within Business and Individual Taxes.

Previously, Bloomberg reported that Moyane “will seek a legal interdict against Cyril Ramaphosa if the president does not stop trying to remove him from the tax agency”, quoting unnamed people “familiar with the matter”.

Ramaphosa had been given until 9.30pm on Monday to respond to a letter from Moyane calling for him to back down,” Bloomberg quoted its sources as saying.

SARS spokesman Sandile Memela on Monday night confirmed that Moyane “has been suspended with immediate effect. Unfortunately, no further details can be provided at this stage.”

“SARS has less than seven days to the end of the financial year 2018. The eyes of the 14 000 men women youth and people with disabilities will remain focused on reaching and even surpassing the the revenue target of R1.217-trillion. SARS is a solid, efficient and effective organisation that appreciates its mandate to collect the much needed resources for the developmental agenda of the State.” DM

Photo: Tom Moyane (Leila Dee Dougan for Daily Maverick)

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