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SARS appoints three deputy commissioners to strengthen leadership

SARS appoints three deputy commissioners to strengthen leadership

Tshwane 2 June 2023– SARS Commissioner Edward Kieswetter, today announced the appointment of 3 Deputy Commissioners, to strengthen his executive team within SARS. This follows an extensive executive search which resulted in the appointment of one internal candidate and two from private sector.  The appointment of Deputies is also one of the recommendations in the final report of the Commission of Inquiry into Tax Administration and Governance by SARS headed by Judge Robert Nugent.

Commissioner Kieswetter says: “I am delighted with these appointments. The Deputy Commissioners will provide valuable support to build on the work we commenced 4 years ago in the rebuilding program. To enhance institutional integrity and governance; accelerate our modernisation journey; and build our capacity and capability to execute our legal mandate.  As the second line of command to the Commissioner, the Deputy Commissioners will complement our leadership bench and ensure that there is greater focus in the distinct areas assigned to them and step up our bias for action.” 

The Deputy Commissioners are:

  1. Mr Johnstone Makhubu – Deputy Commissioner: Taxpayer Engagement and Operations

Mr Makhubu is currently the Chief Revenue Officer at SARS and has been with the organisation since 2016. He joined SARS from Eskom in June 2016 as Chief Procurement Officer before being appointed Chief Finance Officer in 2018. After Commissioner Kieswetter joined, the role of Chief Revenue Officer was created, and Johnstone took up this position in 2020. His valuable experience in SARS will stand him in good stead in his new post overseeing SARS’s large and complex operations with the aim of raising performance, further professionalising taxpayer service, and driving compliance in line with SARS’s strategic objectives.

Mr Makhubu has a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Kwa-Zulu-Natal and a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the Unisa. He has completed a Master’s in Business Leadership at Unisa and holds a senior management programme (SMP) with the Henley Business School.He is currently completing his PhD in Leadership at the University of Pretoria.

Mr Makhubu’s new role is to oversee and ensure the effectiveness and efficiency of the ongoing daily business operations across our taxpayer engagement offerings in tax and customs, as well as the enforcement of compliance obligations of traders and taxpayers. His role focuses on the front-line engagement with taxpayers and traders to ensure the effective and efficient provision and/or facilitation of all tax and customs services as well as the resolution of all service-related queries, all cases where a taxpayer has been selected for any further compliance action as well as the resolution of all disputes arising from any compliance outcome. He will also be focusing on all outreach, awareness, and outreach activities in support of voluntary taxpayer compliance as well as all orchestration and operational enabling related to Taxpayer Engagement & Facilitation. The delivery of the SARS Compliance Programme, including the risk profiling and case selection will fall within the ambit of his role.

  1. Mr Carl Scholtz – Deputy Commissioner: Enterprise Strategy, Enablement and Modernisation

Mr Scholtz has extensive experience in leading systems development and integration, architecture design as well as business process re-engineering initiatives. He has accumulated valuable experience in formulating business strategies and executing business turnarounds in the posts he has held at various enterprises including at Comair, SA Breweries , Pick ‘n Pay Retailers and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE). Mr Scholtz has spearheaded mega-projects in the financial services industry and was the programme director at the JSE where he was responsible for the delivery of its Integrated Trading and Clearing solution, a R500 million core system replacement programme involving 18 different systems over a period of 3 years.

Mr Scholtz’s significant operational and commercial experience makes him the ideal candidate to head up SARS’s enterprise strategy, enabling and modernisation portfolio in an environment where the organisation is striving toward building its advanced data science and artificial Intelligence capability and striving to harness technological innovations to advance the strategic objectives of SARS and gain transformational efficiency and effectiveness towards building a SMART Modern SARS.

Carl has a Bachelor and Honours degree in Electronic Engineering from the University of Pretoria, as well as a Master’s in Business Leadership from the UNISA Business School

In his role as Deputy Commissioner, Carl will oversee and ensure the development and dissemination of modernisation techniques in an environment of advanced Data Science, Artificial Intelligence and Technology Innovation. He will also oversee the effective and efficient provision of IT systems required to support SARS’s unique objectives and goals as well as the management, flow, and strategy of data throughout its lifecycle to meet SARS’s business and financial objectives.

  1. Ms Bridgitte BackmanDeputy Commissioner: Corporate and Enterprise Services

Ms Backman is a seasoned business leader who brings extensive expertise across a range of industries such as Development Finance, Energy (Oil and Gas), Food and Beverages, Elections Management, serving in various general management and executives roles – Shared Services, Corporate Affairs, Public Policy, Innovation, Legal, Supply Chain and People Management.

Bridgette’s significant experience in managing, integration and turn-around of divisions makes her an ideal candidate for this role. Her broad-based experience in forging strategic alliances internally and externally to leverage and unlock key strategic business levers and drivers, will stand her in good stead at SARS. Her strategic acumen has allowed her to redirect organisations, divisions and departments to endorse a holistic performance, people and purpose focus as a building block to the long-term future of an organisation.

Bridgitte holds a BSc (Chemistry) from the University of Cape Town and an MBA from the Rotterdam School of Management, Netherlands including an Exchange semester at the Haas Business School, University of California, Berkeley, USA.  She has also served as board member on the UN Global Compact, South Africa. She currently serves as a Senior Associate of the University of Cambridge Institute of Sustainability Leadership, as well as a Visiting Fellow at the Saïd Business School, University of Oxford.

As Deputy Commissioner, she will head up the Corporate and Enterprise Services portfolio responsible for the provision of corporate and shared services in support of the core business. The role is to oversee and ensure appropriate strategies and policies are in place that are aligned to the overall SARS Strategic Intent, Vision and Values and efficient and effective delivery in the areas of finance and resource stewardship, people, governance and risk, stakeholder management (corporate and professional bodies), corporate social responsibility, anti-corruption and integrity and corporate and performance reporting.

Commissioner Kieswetter welcomes the three Deputy Commissioners to SARS and looks forward to working with them in realising SARS’s strategic vision of building a smart, modern SARS with unquestionable integrity, which is trusted and admired and, which embeds voluntary tax and customs compliance.

Upon taking over the helm as SARS Commissioner in May 2019, Commissioner Kieswetter listed the following five “must wins” for SARS:

  1. Broadening the Tax Base
  2. Improving Voluntary Compliance & Fiscal Citizenship
  3. Leveraging our resources and efforts intelligently to achieve more with less
  4. Maintaining crucial partnerships within government and stakeholders locally and internationally; and
  5. Building an organisation with integrity that can be trusted and admired.

While there have been significant advances in all the above, Commissioner Kieswetter looks forward to taking the next steps forward with the contribution of the three Deputy Commissioners to consolidate wins and strengthen the resilience of the institution to sustain continuous progress and innovation in the years ahead.

Commissioner Kieswetter has high expectations of the Deputy Commissioners. He commented: “There is no higher purpose for a leader than to serve. In doing so, the only people to whom a leader is accountable are the people he or she purports to serve.  We want leaders who bring balance to the respective roles; leaders who live the higher purpose of building our country; leaders who are passionate about tax and customs. Leaders who will value and nurture those whom they lead. But most importantly- leaders who have the best outcomes for our taxpayers at heart.”

Commissioner Kieswetter added “Appointment is only half the job of succession. Succession includes activities that occur after the appointment of the Deputy Commissioners – activities designed to maximise their chances of success. I look forward to championing those activities”,

For further information please contact [email protected]

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