The DA welcomes the suspension of Tom Moyane as Commissioner of SARS

Find attached soundbites in English and Zulu from Alf Lees MP.
President Cyril Ramaphosa’s decision to suspend Tom Moyane as SARS Commissioner is long overdue given the destruction of the reputation of SARS whilst under his leadership.
Mr Moyane’s mismanagement of the tax authority led to a severe decline in taxpayer morality and has thus contributed towards the decline in tax revenue collections.
While the DA welcomes the resignation of Jonas Makwakwa, the SARS manager Corporate and Individual tax, and the suspension of Tom Moyane, we believe that more should be done to restore the integrity of SARS.
The DA will push for the full implementation of the recommendations of the Davis Committee as they relate to the appointment of the SARS Commissioner and the creation of a SARS Advisory Board.
The next SARS Commissioner must be an individual with a proven track record in tax administration and financial management. Their immediate task will be to oversee a restoration of taxpayer morality and improvement in tax revenue collections.
Most importantly, the new SARS Commissioner must take urgent steps to investigate the circumstances surrounding the management of SARS, namely:
• the suspicious Makwakwa transactions identified by the FIC
• special treatment given to Gupta companies on the R70 million VAT refund
• the assessment of tax payable by former President Jacob Zuma must be fully and independently investigated
The DA looks forward to a full implementation of a turnaround strategy at SARS, spearheaded by a qualified Commissioner.

Jonas Makwakwa must not get a golden handshake

Jonas Makwakwa’s departure from South African Revenue Service (SARS) must not be rewarded with any gratuity or golden handshake as his tenure turned out to be a financial burden on the tax authority.
The DA has written to the Minister of Finance, Nhlanhla Nene, requesting that he ensures that Makwakwa is not paid anything but the minimum the law requires following his resignation from SARS as Chief Officer of Business and Individual Taxes.
Despite the cloud of corruption hanging over his head, Makwakwa’s salary for the 2016/17 financial year was R4,9 million with an additional bonus payment of R930 000 before his suspension.
The allegations of corruption and money laundering did not stop Makwakwa from being reinstated into his senior position at SARS, from which he continued to receive financial compensation.
It is deeply concerning that allegations of corruption and money laundering did not stop Makwakwa from being reinstated to his senior position at SARS. Indeed, his reinstatement, was apparently not based on findings which cleared him of all charges emanating from a Finance Intelligence Centre (FIC) report that had flagged suspicious transactions through his bank account.
Moyane and Makwakwa’s ‘alliance of mutual destruction’ has run its course and to guarantee a turnaround in SARS’s fortunes, President Ramaphosa must also wield the axe on Tom Moyane himself.

Hawks must now prioritise an investigation into the Guptas R70 million tax refund

The DA notes the move by the Hawks and the South African Revenue Services (SARS) on arresting nine suspects linked to a VAT scam that has cost the economy R90 million.

We are encouraged by this move and hopeful that more similar arrests will take place soon.

The Hawks must do everything that is within their power in order to investigate and prosecute with equal diligence the Gupta proceeds, implicating them in a suspicious R70 million tax pay-out from SARS last year.

This includes obtaining the necessary court orders to gain access to information that is with SARS.

The DA urges Police Minister, Fikile Mbalula, to ensure that the Hawks have all the necessary support that they need in this regard.

SARS paid this money into the bank account of Oakbay Investments. Normally, pay-outs are only paid into the account of the taxpayer and not into the account of the third party or proxy.

This was after South Africa’s major banks closed Gupta-linked accounts.

The DA finds the personal involvement by SARS Commissioner, Tom Moyane, in intervening and securing the payment into the Gupta account far from regular.

SARS cannot be used to advance certain agendas for politicians and those who are politically connected such as the Gupta family.

The extent of corruption and State Capture by the Guptas has collapsed institutions and State-Owned-Enterprises, which has adversely impacted on the country’s economy and jobs.

That is why the Guptas must fully account for every cent that they have unduly benefitted by stealing the fruits of the hard labour of innocent South Africans.

Mbalula must show decisive leadership and offer both the Hawks and SARS all the necessary support needed to establish and expedite the investigation into R70 million Gupta tax refund.

BOKAMOSO | 2018: The road ahead

Happy 2018! I hope the festive season was fun and restful, and that you are starting the year with batteries recharged and ready to tackle the challenges of 2018. The road ahead is by no means laid out; we have to chart it and build it. So I’d like to start the year by suggesting something of a roadmap.
In December, Cyril Ramaphosa was elected as President of the ANC. I congratulate him and wish him well. We have to build a capable state in a South Africa that works for all. He was undoubtedly the better candidate. But we must not be lulled into a false sense of security by his promises of great reform. The proof of the pudding is in the eating. The ANC remains a deeply divided, ideologically confused, undemocratic and corrupt organisation and it is far from clear that Ramaphosa will be able to undertake the critical reforms SA needs if we are to turn our economy around and start improving life in SA. Time will tell, and we will be watching closely.
Ramaphosa’s election may turn out to be the powder coating that fools South Africans into hanging onto their liberation movement long after it has outworn its usefulness. And that would simply set our nation back even further. So this is no time for us South Africans to drop our guard. We must be united and relentless in demanding the following key steps, each of which is absolutely non-negotiable.
With extraordinary urgency, Zuma must be removed and the structure he has built around him to enable state capture dismantled. That means appointing competent, independent individuals to head up the NPA, SAPS, SARS and the departments of Finance, Public Enterprises, Mineral Resources and State Security.
And then if nothing else, three crucial areas of policy reform have got to be tackled urgently.
First, South Africa needs SOE reform to stop the cash haemorrhage. This means putting capable, independent individuals in charge, focusing on strategic companies and selling or closing non-strategic ones. Eskom in particular requires urgent intervention to ensure a continuous supply of power at prices that enable our economy to compete effectively.
Second, we need a much more flexible regulatory regime for small and medium businesses, to unlock their massive job creation potential. Our unemployment rate of 36% is completely unnatural, and is the direct result of labour and other legislation that excludes new entrants and deters new job creation. Opening jobs and opportunities to young people must be a top priority.
Third, we have to insist that the needs of schoolchildren are placed ahead of the demands of SADTU. Right now, 4 out of 5 nine year olds cannot read with meaning in any language, setting them up for disaster at every further stage in life. This is a tragedy and a crisis and we owe it to all South Africa’s children to make this a central electoral issue.
Finally, we should expect that corruption is tackled in every sphere of government and past acts of corruption are aired and punished. This includes but is by no means limited to the inquiry into state capture.
Failure to act on any of these fronts should constitute a serious red flag, pointing to a government unable or unwilling to deliver on the pressing needs of ordinary South Africans, 55% of whom still live in poverty. We must judge Ramaphosa’s team on this scorecard, and make it clear we are doing so.
The DA will work hard this year to fight for these and other such reforms. We will continue seeking to unite South Africans on these issues, and around shared values of Constitutionalism, non-racialism, job-creating economic growth, zero tolerance of corruption, and a capable state.
Our role is to fight for the outsiders – the poor and marginalized and the young, who are locked out of the economy and unable to access the opportunities they need to get ahead in life. Our mission is to offer South Africa a compelling alternative: a new beginning beyond the hegemony of SA’s aging liberation movement. We aspire to a South Africa that is free, fair and filled with opportunity; a modern and forward looking country that is globally integrated and prosperous.
In government, the DA’s crucial focus will be on bringing jobs and opportunities – especially to young people. We will continue our strong drive to improve educational outcomes, which has once again placed the Western Cape top in the country in terms of the “real matric pass rate”, which takes retention rates into account.  We retained 64% of learners in the system between Grade 10 and the NSC exam, which is 22 percentage points higher than the Free State, which had the lowest retention rate in the country. And yet still, 83% of Western Cape learners passed the 2017 NSC exam.
The DA is facing two significant governing challenges right now: the Western Cape drought, and the allegations surrounding Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille. In both of these, please be assured we are acting according to our values.
In the De Lille matter, we will hold ourselves to the same standard that we hold the ANC. We do not tolerate cutting legal corners or playing fast and loose with the law. We have followed due process and insisted that our Councillors in Cape Town institute an independent investigation by Bowman Gilfillan. That report, along with another DA internal report, has found cause for serious concern in Cape Town. Cape Town is the jewel in the DA’s governance crown, and we will act with integrity to demonstrate to voters that good, clean governance is not negotiable in the DA. We will assess the facts and take a decision on the matter on Sunday this week, at a special meeting of our Federal Executive, the highest decision-making body in the DA.
In response to the severe water crisis, the City of Cape Town has gone to great lengths to reduce water use while increasing supply. Seven projects to increase water supply are at an advanced stage and will start providing additional water in the coming months. These include groundwater extraction, waste water treatment and desalination. A further twelve projects are in the pipeline. World Bank consultants deem the City’s supply plan to be excellent and one of the most detailed they have ever seen. In addition to this, the City is working on a long term strategy to adapt to a low rainfall environment, and a critical water shortages disaster plan.
But ultimately, responding to the Cape drought is a group effort, as is building the road ahead for South Africa in 2018. Each of us has a part to play, and my hope is that we can unite and work together to give our kids a brighter future.

BOKAMOSO | 2018: The road ahead

Happy 2018! I hope the festive season was fun and restful, and that you are starting the year with batteries recharged and ready to tackle the challenges of 2018. The road ahead is by no means laid out; we have to chart it and build it. So I’d like to start the year by suggesting something of a roadmap.

In December, Cyril Ramaphosa was elected as President of the ANC. I congratulate him and wish him well. We have to build a capable state in a South Africa that works for all. He was undoubtedly the better candidate. But we must not be lulled into a false sense of security by his promises of great reform. The proof of the pudding is in the eating. The ANC remains a deeply divided, ideologically confused, undemocratic and corrupt organisation and it is far from clear that Ramaphosa will be able to undertake the critical reforms SA needs if we are to turn our economy around and start improving life in SA. Time will tell, and we will be watching closely.

Ramaphosa’s election may turn out to be the powder coating that fools South Africans into hanging onto their liberation movement long after it has outworn its usefulness. And that would simply set our nation back even further. So this is no time for us South Africans to drop our guard. We must be united and relentless in demanding the following key steps, each of which is absolutely non-negotiable.

With extraordinary urgency, Zuma must be removed and the structure he has built around him to enable state capture dismantled. That means appointing competent, independent individuals to head up the NPA, SAPS, SARS and the departments of Finance, Public Enterprises, Mineral Resources and State Security.

And then if nothing else, three crucial areas of policy reform have got to be tackled urgently.

First, South Africa needs SOE reform to stop the cash haemorrhage. This means putting capable, independent individuals in charge, focusing on strategic companies and selling or closing non-strategic ones. Eskom in particular requires urgent intervention to ensure a continuous supply of power at prices that enable our economy to compete effectively.

Second, we need a much more flexible regulatory regime for small and medium businesses, to unlock their massive job creation potential. Our unemployment rate of 36% is completely unnatural, and is the direct result of labour and other legislation that excludes new entrants and deters new job creation. Opening jobs and opportunities to young people must be a top priority.

Third, we have to insist that the needs of schoolchildren are placed ahead of the demands of SADTU. Right now, 4 out of 5 nine year olds cannot read with meaning in any language, setting them up for disaster at every further stage in life. This is a tragedy and a crisis and we owe it to all South Africa’s children to make this a central electoral issue.

Finally, we should expect that corruption is tackled in every sphere of government and past acts of corruption are aired and punished. This includes but is by no means limited to the inquiry into state capture.

Failure to act on any of these fronts should constitute a serious red flag, pointing to a government unable or unwilling to deliver on the pressing needs of ordinary South Africans, 55% of whom still live in poverty. We must judge Ramaphosa’s team on this scorecard, and make it clear we are doing so.

The DA will work hard this year to fight for these and other such reforms. We will continue seeking to unite South Africans on these issues, and around shared values of Constitutionalism, non-racialism, job-creating economic growth, zero tolerance of corruption, and a capable state.

Our role is to fight for the outsiders – the poor and marginalized and the young, who are locked out of the economy and unable to access the opportunities they need to get ahead in life. Our mission is to offer South Africa a compelling alternative: a new beginning beyond the hegemony of SA’s aging liberation movement. We aspire to a South Africa that is free, fair and filled with opportunity; a modern and forward looking country that is globally integrated and prosperous.

In government, the DA’s crucial focus will be on bringing jobs and opportunities – especially to young people. We will continue our strong drive to improve educational outcomes, which has once again placed the Western Cape top in the country in terms of the “real matric pass rate”, which takes retention rates into account.  We retained 64% of learners in the system between Grade 10 and the NSC exam, which is 22 percentage points higher than the Free State, which had the lowest retention rate in the country. And yet still, 83% of Western Cape learners passed the 2017 NSC exam.

The DA is facing two significant governing challenges right now: the Western Cape drought, and the allegations surrounding Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille. In both of these, please be assured we are acting according to our values.

In the De Lille matter, we will hold ourselves to the same standard that we hold the ANC. We do not tolerate cutting legal corners or playing fast and loose with the law. We have followed due process and insisted that our Councillors in Cape Town institute an independent investigation by Bowman Gilfillan. That report, along with another DA internal report, has found cause for serious concern in Cape Town. Cape Town is the jewel in the DA’s governance crown, and we will act with integrity to demonstrate to voters that good, clean governance is not negotiable in the DA. We will assess the facts and take a decision on the matter on Sunday this week, at a special meeting of our Federal Executive, the highest decision-making body in the DA.

In response to the severe water crisis, the City of Cape Town has gone to great lengths to reduce water use while increasing supply. Seven projects to increase water supply are at an advanced stage and will start providing additional water in the coming months. These include groundwater extraction, waste water treatment and desalination. A further twelve projects are in the pipeline. World Bank consultants deem the City’s supply plan to be excellent and one of the most detailed they have ever seen. In addition to this, the City is working on a long term strategy to adapt to a low rainfall environment, and a critical water shortages disaster plan.

But ultimately, responding to the Cape drought is a group effort, as is building the road ahead for South Africa in 2018. Each of us has a part to play, and my hope is that we can unite and work together to give our kids a brighter future.

Commission of Inquiry into State Capture must get to work without delay

The Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomes the eventual decision by President Jacob Zuma, after all his efforts to delay have failed, to appoint a Commission of Inquiry into State Capture, as per the Public Protector’s State of Capture Report. Zuma deserves no credit for this decision. His hand has been forced, as he knew he had no further avenue for delay.

As the initial complainant in the State of Capture report, we will closely monitor the Commission over the next 180 days. So as to not inhibit the ability of the Commission to uncover the full extent of State Capture in South Africa, its Terms of Reference must be framed as broadly as possible to include the following:

  • The activities of the Gupta family and their relationship with President Zuma and his family;
  • All dealings by Gupta-linked companies with the State, including all SOEs;
  • The capture of state institutions, including SARS, the NPA and the Hawks; and
  • Every other allegation outlined in the Public Protector’s State of Capture

Moreover, we call on all South Africans who have any evidence of State Capture and corruption in government to bring this information to light, in order for the Commission to conduct a thorough investigation and bring the truth into the light. Parliament must be equipped to deal with all national policies that have allowed State Capture to take root, and the Commission’s findings must be tabled before Parliament on completion.

We will not allow this Commission to be another whitewash that absolves all politically connected individuals from accountability, and where appropriate, prison. It must be properly staffed, fully funded and free from any and all political inference.

Lastly, this announcement does not let Jacob Zuma off the hook. Less than one month ago, the North Gauteng High Court rejected President Zuma’s baseless review of the Public Protector’s State of Capture report and its recommendations, and ordered him to personally pay back his legal costs. The Court unanimously found that Zuma’s conduct in trying to block the release of the State of Capture report was an “abuse of judicial process” and an attempt to “stymie the fulfilment of a constitutional obligation by the Office of the Public Protector”. He must be held accountable for such conduct.

Corruption robs our people of opportunity, and thus the Commission’s work is critical in advancing freedom for our people. The Commission is a step towards ridding the country of corruption, and must do its work without delay.

Tom Moyane intimidates Parliament to protect Jonas Makwakwa

South Africa Revenue Service (SARS) Commissioner, Tom Moyane, has written a threatening letter to Yunus Carrim, the Chair of the Standing Committee on Finance, insinuating that distribution of an FIC report implicating Jonas Makwakwa in financial misconduct was illegally tabled at the parliamentary finance committee.
The FIC report has been publicly available on the internet, but instead of taking action on its findings, Mr Moyane seems to be working tirelessly to stop those implicated from being held to account.
I have therefore written to Malusi Gigaba, the Minister of Finance, urging him to:
• to ensure that Tom Moyane suspends Mr Jonas Makwakwa from his duties at SARS with immediate effect, at the very least until the Hawks investigations into possible money laundering of the proceeds of crime have been completed.
• work with the Minister of Police to ensure that the Hawks investigations into possible money laundering of the proceeds of crime by Mr Makwakwa and Ms Elskie are dealt with urgently.
It is not acceptable that Mr Tom Moyane, as a civil servant, can put Parliament on trial by demanding that the Parliamentary legal adviser provide the link on the internet from which the FIC report was obtained.
Worse still, the claim in Mr Moyane’s letter that the FIC report in my possession was somehow illegal is a clear attempt to intimidate and stop me from holding SARS to account.
This tactic by Moyane is not going to work and only reinforces my resolve to exercise my oversight function without fear or favour.
In the interests of good governance, Mr Moyane’s concern must be to ensure that action is taken on the findings made in the FIC report and the subsequent Hogan Lovells, PWC and Advocate Motoa reports on the Makwakwa issue. These reports must be made public in order to show all South Africans that SARS Mr Moyane is serious about restoring the reputation of SARS.
The DA will hold Mr Moyane and SARS to account until sanity is restored at the tax collection authority.

SARS brain drain: Tax agency has lost 7 500 years of experience since January

A reply to a DA Parliamentary Question has revealed the sheer extent of the brain drain from the  South African Revenue Service (SARS) in 2017.
A total of 506 employees have left SARS, meaning the tax agency has lost a total of 128 tertiary degrees and at least 7479 years of experience since 1 January of this year.
SARS has experienced institutional decay under its commissioner, Tom Moyane, and the reply confirms this. It also indicates the likelihood of continued institutional weakening.
Considering the critical role SARS plays in the South African economy, serious intervention cannot be delayed any further. The flight of experienced professionals from SARS means the revenue service may fail to attract critical skills and ultimately become yet another failed public entity.
South Africa is facing a tax revenue shortfall of R50.8 billion and a further weakening of key institutions like SARS could possibly worsen the situation, leaving the 9.4 million unemployed South Africans with little hope under the failing ANC government.

Minister Gigaba must address Makwakwa’s continued presence at SARS

Today, SARS confirmed to Parliament’s Standing Committee on Finance (SCOF) that Mr Jonas Makwakwa had his suspension lifted as from the 1st of November 2017. SARS also admitted that the suspension was lifted despite the fact that Makwakwa was, and still is, being investigated by SARS for possible tax evasion and/or violations of the Tax Administration Act (TAA).
This investigation follows the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) alerting SARS Commissioner, Tom Moyane, to suspicious amounts of money which ended up in Makwakwa and his girlfriend, Kelly-Ann Elskie’s bank accounts.
In light of SARS’s revelations today, the DA has written to Finance Minister, Malusi Gigaba, in order to apprise him of the concerns surrounding Makwakwa’s continued presence at SARS and to ask if he believes that Makwakwa should be suspended from his duties at the revenue service until the investigations into his tax affairs as well as into his possible involvement in money laundering have been finalised.
It is mind-boggling how Monyane thought it wise to lift Makwakwa’s suspension despite him being at the centre of serious corruption allegations against him.
Page 5 B (iv) of the SARS Standard Operating Procedure, HR-ER-02-S01, clearly states that suspension on full pay may be imposed under the following circumstances:

  • If the employee is alleged to have committed an offence that is of a serious nature;
  • To stabilise the work environment in order to conduct a proper investigation into the allegation/s levelled against the employee or employees, and to avoid the potential tampering with evidence and/or interference with the investigation;
  • To minimise any risk and/or potential damage to SARS property and/or danger to the well-being of other SARS employees during an investigation; and
  • To protect and secure witnesses and to avoid interference or intimidation of witnesses during the course of the investigation.

There can be no doubt that the report to SARS from the FIC indicates the possibility of tax evasion and/or of a violation of the TAA, which would constitute an offence of a serious nature. Meaning, Makwakwa has no business at SARS.
The fact that Makwakwa, a senior manager at SARS, is under investigation for tax evasion should be of grave concern to Moyane and Gigaba, yet they have remained silent on the matter.
The DA will however not allow for the silence to continue. Minister Gigaba must, in his response, come clean on his stance on Makwakwa’s return to SARS.

Manipulative Moyane turns a blind eye to Makwakwa investigations

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.