CLARIFICATION BY SARS ON RECENT MEDIA COVERAGE

 
PRETORIA, 29 January 2016 – The South African Revenue Service (SARS) takes note of recent reports in the media pertaining to the organisation.
 
In particular, the SARS Operating Model Review and the leakage of confidential information have garnered media coverage. SARS wishes to present its perspective on the internal restructuring process underway.
 
Regarding the Operating Model Review, it is important to note that SARS engaged in a legitimate process of procurement. This process culminated in the former Minister of Finance, Nhlanhla Nene providing approval for the review plans.
 
As a result, Gartner Inc. was appointed to assist SARS with the IT & Modernisation Strategy Review as well as Bain & Company for the Operating Model and Structure Review.
 
Subsequent to the approval from the former Minister Nene, SARS had significant engagements with a multitude of stakeholders, including (but not limited to) SAICA, SAIPA, business, our employees and organised labour.
 
Furthermore, feedback was solicited from SARS employees and top management through an internal survey, submission of position papers by senior management and face-to-face discussions.
 
In keeping with international best practice, SARS conducted a benchmarking exercise which entailed the study of the seven revenue services and five revenue authorities across the world. A presentation was made before Parliament’s Standing Committee on Finance (SCOF) and the Ministerial appointed SARS Advisory Board was engaged on three occasions.
 
Following intense consultation, the concurrence of Minister Nene and organised labour, the process of the review commenced on 18 August 2015.
 
The review process was designed to leverage off the phenomenal strides which have been achieved by SARS since its establishment approximately 19 years ago. It will also assist in the identification of growth opportunities, enhance accountability, and re-position SARS as a fair, transparent, innovative and leading tax administrator amongst its peers.
 
The result of the review is intended to differentiate SARS as a preferred employer whose focus is empowering its employees and administrating taxes effectively. Also it will strengthen compliance and enhance the taxpayer or trader service experience.
 
In essence, the purpose of the review will ultimately make SARS more effective relative to its mandate, of revenue collection for the state.
 
There is nothing illegal or out of the ordinary about the review. The process was approved by all relevant stakeholders.
   
Clarification regarding information leaks:
 
Since the appointment of SARS Commissioner Tom Moyane in September 2014, major controls and process have been instituted to curb information leaks from SARS. The intention is to protect the integrity of the organisation.
 
We reject any insinuation that suggests that SARS or the Commissioner has been leaking confidential information. 
 
With regards to the leakage of the KPMG report, SARS would like to place on record that all copies of the report submitted were uniquely numbered. None of the copies submitted to SARS were leaked and are in safe custody.
 
We are aware which copy has been leaked because the media published its numbering. That copy was not delivered to any SARS official. The matter of the leakage of that report must be addressed with those who are in possession of that report.
 
The media is encouraged to uphold its code of ethics and standards when it comes to dealing with leaked confidential documents.
 
Issuing of the forensic SARS KPMG Report:
 
The Commissioner is applying his mind to the KPMG report and will decide on the next steps. The Commissioner will release the report to the public in the next few weeks.
 
SARS prides itself as an organisation that upholds trust and integrity.  Our staff promotes our values of fairness, accountability, integrity respect.
 
Our core mandate remains revenue collection is inextricably linked to the capacity of the state to serve its citizens and to the success of our young democracy.
 
We wish to assure South Africans that we remain single-minded in doing our bit to expedite our mandate.