Sars to get new taxman ‘in next few weeks’

A panel of experts appointed by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni has already begun looking for the next South African Revenue Service (Sars) commissioner after Tom Moyane was dismissed last year.

The panel will interview and shortlist candidates for the position of commissioner for recommendation to President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Former finance minister Trevor Manuel will head up the panel comprising Judge Dennis Davis, treasury deputy director general Ismail Momoniat, Angela Bester, Advocate Thandi Orleyn, Fezekile Tshiqi and Sindi Mabaso-Koyana.

This is in line with recommendations made by retired Judge Robert Nugent who chaired the Sars commission of inquiry which looked into the governance and structural failures at the revenue collector.

In his final report Nugent said while the president should still be able to appoint the commissioner, he should make this appointment in consultation with the finance minister through a transparent process.

Nugent recommended that the members of the panel should be “…apolitical and not answerable to any constituency, and should be persons of high standing who are able to inspire confidence across the tax-paying spectrum.”

Nugent further outlined the criteria which potential commissioners would have to meet in order to be considered for the post which includes having “unblemished integrity”, experience in managing a large entity at an executive level, and not having ties to a particular constituency.

Ramaphosa fired Moyane in November 2018 as per the recommendations made by Nugent in a scathing interim report. The report found that Moyane was “reckless” and “irresponsible” in his management of the revenue service.

Nugent said Moyane had destroyed the governance structures at Sars and stated categorically that “the day Tom Moyane took office was a calamity for Sars”.

“Almost immediately, and then continuously for the next eighteen months, Sars was thrown into turmoil, with tragic consequences for the lives of many people, tragic consequences for the reputation of Sars, and tragic consequences for the country at large,” Nugent added.

Moyane has met all attempts to get him out of office with legal action, the last being a failed attempt to have his dismissal overturned at the Pretoria high court in December last year.

Mboweni will oversee the initial appointment process by the panel which should complete its work “soon”, treasury said. 

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Tebogo Tshwane
Tebogo Tshwane

Tebogo Tshwane is an Adamela Trust financial journalism trainee at the Mail & Guardian. She was previously a general news intern at Eyewitness News and a current affairs show presenter at the Voice of Wits FM. Tshwane is passionate about socioeconomic issues and understanding how macroeconomic activities affect ordinary people. She holds a journalism honours degree from Wits University. 

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