The South African Revenue Service (SARS), under the leadership of suspended commissioner Tom Moyane, cost SA R7bn in lost revenue, says a report by the Tobacco Institute of Southern Africa (Tisa). Tisa represents the legal tobacco products industry in the region. It alleges in a report released at the JSE on Thursday that SARS under Moyane had turned a blind eye to the illicit industry and stopped inspections at tobacco factories. SA is one of the world’s biggest markets for illicit cigarette sales. Tisa chairman Francois van der Merwe said that tobacco money had played a role in state capture “so no wonder our relationship with SARS was terminated” in 2014. The fact that cigarettes were available for as little as R5 a pack of 20 meant taxes were not being paid, he said. The tax on a pack of 20 is about R17.85. The report states that the illicit tobacco trade will cost SA R7bn this year. At the launch of the report at the JSE on Thursday, Tisa chairman Van der Merwe said: "At least ...

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