Bain says it made ‘significant errors of judgement’ in Sars work

Global management consultancy Bain & Company has admitted to “significant errors of judgement” in the work it did for the South African Revenue Service, for which it was sharply criticised by retired Judge Robert Nugent in the final Sars commission report.

In a statement, Bain said that it was “shocked and saddened by our involvement with Sars”.

“We let down our clients, our people, our alumni and our firm. Most of all, we have let down South Africa.”

Nugent delivered the commission’s final 199-page report to President Cyril Ramaphosa last week.

The commission was set up to probe the state of tax administration and governance at the revenue collection agency.

READ MORE: Sars breakdown was inevitable with Moyane at the helm — Nugent

Among the report’s findings was that the local office of Bain worked in concert with axed Sars commissioner Tom Moyane in a what the report’s authors called a “premeditated offensive”.

“We think what occurred can fairly be described as a premeditated offensive against Sars, strategised by the local office of Bain & Company, located in Boston, for Mr Moyane to seize Sars, each in pursuit of their own interests that were symbiotic, but not altogether the same,” states the report.

“Mr Moyane’s interest was to take control of Sars. Bain’s interest was to make money. This was not a plan for mere succession in public service.”

Moyane has consistently denied that he did anything wrong.

‘Unwitting participant’

Bain said that while it exhibited “various lapses in leadership and governance” in its work for Sars, it did not accept that its local representatives knowingly participated in an effort to damage the agency, describing its role as that of an “unwitting participant”.

“We understand the justifiable anger felt by South Africans, and are deeply sorry for what has happened to Sars and for our involvement.

“Bain does not, however, accept that its representatives knowingly participated in an effort to damage Sars,” it said.

“Bain made many mistakes in relation to Sars, but the firm had no motive, monetary or otherwise, to damage Sars, and did not set out to do so.”

The group — which said its understanding of South African politics was naive — also announced it had appointed Bain partner John Senior as the group’s SA head from January 2019, and created an advisory board to guide its future work. — Fin 24 

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Jan Gerber
Jan Gerber
Journalist & photographer. Parliamentary reporter for News24

Related stories


Subscribers only

Come what may, the UIF will pay

The fund – the main safety net for unemployed workers – will run at an almost R20-billion deficit

‘Terrorised’ family shines a light on traditional leadership for vulnerable...

The ambiguity between traditional and constitutional leadership has been exposed by the violent banishment of an Eastern Cape family

More top stories

High court grants Dlamini-Zuma leave to appeal adverse ruling on...

The court held that the ongoing state of disaster meant there was public interest in the legal test applied to measures taken to contain the pandemic

Concourt to hear Zondo commission’s application for contempt order against...

The former president has one week to file answering papers in the application that also seeks a prison sentence imposed on him

Koko maintains he had no idea he was exchanging emails...

On his fourth appearance before the commission, the former Eskom CEO maintains he was tricked into sharing company information with a third party

Zuma foundation claims ex-president was prepared to testify, but Zondo...

Zuma’s namesake organisation twists facts and the law – he told Zondo he would answer questions but only in private to the deputy chief justice

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…