SARS the good news story

Pretoria, 23 September 2016 - We have noted the continued and sustained media attacks on the integrity of SARS and the Commissioner, Tom Moyane, on blanket malicious allegations that cannot be substantiated by facts.

The insinuation that the Commissioner is breaking the organisation is malicious and meant to denigrate and attack the institution.

For two consecutive years, 2014/15 and 2015/16, SARS managed to outperform the economy:  crowned by the collection of the historical amount of over R1-trillion revenue in the 2015/16 financial year. The media is failing to acknowledge and recognise the achievements of SARS under the leadership of Commissioner Moyane. These include:

  • The collection of over R1 trillion by SARS in the 2015/16 financial year helped to reduce the country’s deficit. This also contributed to SA avoiding a rating agency downgrade.
  • Despite SA facing declining GDP growth, revenue collections in 2015/16, SARS  outperformed the economy representing a growth of 8.5% from the 2014/15 fiscal year and increasing the estimated tax to GDP ratio from 25.8% in Budget 2015, to 26,3% as projected in Budget 2016. 
  • The level of tax extraction by SARS moved closer to the levels obtained during the commodity boom cycles in the mid-2000s.
  • SARS has also put in place a strategy to deal with:
    1. The illicit economy and illicit financial flows, through engagements with regional Commissioners-General in Southern Africa through seminars and meetings.
    2. Complex schemes used by large businesses to evade and avoid tax.
    3. Low compliance of High Net Worth Individuals, and 
    4. Addressed prevalent VAT refund fraud.

Key to the accomplishments by SARS over the last 18 months is the enhancement of the SARS Operating Model, which started the transformation process of the organisation and brought about an additional R12-billion in the first six months following its implementation.

It is therefore without substance to create a caricature of SARS that is falling apart or breaking if we take into account the results achieved by SARS under the leadership of the Commissioner. The morale of staff is at its highest peak, indicating an organisation that is hard at work and focused to achieve its mandate, diligently collecting all revenue due to the fiscus.

We wonder why at a time when every aspect of the economy is expected to perform consistent to the bleak economic conditions, and every other corporate leader is given the benefit of the doubt, the SARS Commissioner is not. In fact, the prevalent media narrative fails to acknowledge and recognise the exceptional work and excellent achievements of the SARS staff and the Commissioner.

We note that the Sunday Times, Business Day and the Financial Mail are unrelenting in their negative coverage and do not want to allow a legitimate process instituted by the Commissioner with respect to the allegations against Mr Jonas Makwakwa to follow due process.

We are deeply concerned that it is the same media that has lambasted SARS for allegedly not following due legal process in the suspension of  former SARS executives.

However, now that, due process that can stand judicial review is being followed in the suspension of Chief Officer: BAIT, Jonas Makwakwa, the Commissioner is, once again, being castigated. SARS requests all parties concerned to allow and respect all legal processes to take their due course. 

No previous SARS Commissioner has been subjected to such an unrelenting media assault on his integrity.