Moyane fired, Presidency confirms

President Cyril Ramaphosa has fired suspended South African Revenue Service (Sars) commissioner Tom Moyane.

Spokesperson for the presidency Khusela Diko confirmed to the Mail & Guardian that Moyane’s notice of termination was served on Thursday.

This follows the recommendation made by the SARS commission chaired by Judge Robert Nugent that immediate action is needed to forestall any further deterioration of our tax administration system.

In a letter to Mr Moyane, President Ramaphosa says that the interim report of the Nugent Commission “paints a deeply concerning picture of the current state of SARS and the reckless mismanagement which characterised your tenure as Commissioner of SARS.”

“Of further, and in many ways greater, concern is your refusal to meaningfully participate in the SARS Commission in order to assist with identifying the root causes of the systemic failures at SARS and ways in which to arrest these,” he said.

Ramaphosa further indicated in his letter that the representations submitted by Moyane in response to the recommendations of the Nugent commission fail entirely to deal with the substantive issues the report raises.

“The interim report makes clear that there is considerable evidence, which the SARS Commission gathered, indicating that in order to resolve the challenges at SARS, it would be best to terminate your services,” he said.

The acting commissioner for SARS remains in place until such time as the vacancy of national commissioner is filled.

Moyane was suspended in March after the president noted a deterioration of public confidence in Sars.

At the time of Moyane’s suspension in March this year, Diko said concerns were about the manner in which Moyane handled the matter of Jonas Makwakwa’s resignation, “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”.

“I have lost confidence in your ability to lead Sars,” Ramaphosa wrote in a scathing letter to Moyane at the time.“These are not ordinary circumstances. Protecting Sars and by corollary the public interest must be my primary concern,” Ramaphosa wrote in the letter — saying he had no choice, in the public interest, but to suspend him pending disciplinary proceedings.

“As commissioner of Sars you hold a high position of trust in the management of our public finances. The disrepute in which you have brought Sars and the government as a whole and the risk to the national revenue fund are enormous.”

In retired Judge Robert Nugent’s interim report on the commission of inquiry into the Sars released last month, Nugent recommended that Ramaphosa fire Moyane.

READ MORE: Nugent: Moyane must go and that is final

“We stress that the replacement of Mr Moyane is not a panacea, but only the first necessary measure without which there is no possibility of rectifying the damage that has been done to sars,” Nugent said in the report.

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Sarah Smit
Sarah Smit
Sarah Smit is a general news reporter at the Mail & Guardian. She covers topics relating to labour, corruption and the law.

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