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Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has been urged to institute an investigation by tax ombudsman Judge Bernard Ngoepe into allegations that the South African Revenue Service (SARS) is deliberately delaying the payment of VAT refunds in order to boost its revenue-collection outcome. DA deputy spokesman on finance Alf Lees has appealed to Gordhan to request Ngoepe to investigate following reports that there is a backlog in the region of R5bn in the payment of VAT refunds, which, Lees said, was "a clear indication of the weak administration and technology at SARS". The SARS VAT system also handles diesel refunds, which have a backlog amounting to an estimated R1bn. "The delay of the diesel refunds has a devastating impact on business, mining and agriculture, in particular. We understand that the processing of diesel refunds has ... ground to a halt," Lees said on Monday.

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