Today’s Standing Committee on Finance meeting not only revealed that the South African Revenue Service (SARS) splurged R930 000 on the SARS Chief Officer of Business and Individual Taxes, Jonas Makwakwa’s, bonus but it is now also clear that SARS Commissioner, Tom Moyane, failed to place any emphasis on the ongoing investigations.
When the Committee reconvenes on Thursday, the DA will again grill SARS to get clear answers about:
- Why Makwakwa’s suspension has been lifted without being cleared from criminal investigations;
- Why he received a lucrative and unauthorised handout before his suspension; and
- Why Moyane is not taking the allegations and subsequent investigations into his right hand man, seriously.
The SARS investigation into Makwakwa did not focus on the allegations of criminal activity.
Makwakwa’s suspension has been lifted based on an investigation report conducted by Hogan Lovells which did not deal with any criminal allegations as raised by the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC). In addition to the Hogan Lovells investigation there are still pending investigations, one of which is being conducted by the Hawks.
It is therefore mind boggling that Moyane has lifted Makwakwa’s suspension without these investigations being concluded.
Moyane’s continued obfuscation and refusal to provide full answers during the Committee meeting is deeply concerning as it indicates that he may not believe that he is accountable to Parliament.
The credit ratings agency’s recent announcements incontrovertibly confirmed that under Moyane, SARS has experienced severe institutional decay.
It was even implicit in National Treasury’s Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) document that the responsibility for the colossal R50.8 billion revenue shortfall is in part due to the poor performance of SARS and their effectiveness at collecting revenue under Moyane.
SARS is vital for the South African economy to function. However, further weakening of SARS will create an even greater trust deficit which the South African economy simply cannot afford.
The DA will continue fight to restore SARS to the quality institution that it used to be.