Finance minister Tito Mboweni. Picture: REUTERS/SUMAYA HISHAM
Finance minister Tito Mboweni. Picture: REUTERS/SUMAYA HISHAM

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni will lead a “consultative process” to amend the SA Revenue Service (Sars) Act to improve governance and accountability, including the possible establishment of an inspector-general.

This emerged from the cabinet's meeting on Wednesday, which was followed by a statement on Friday. The cabinet noted and supported the findings of the commission of inquiry into tax administration and governance at Sars headed by retired judge Robert Nugent, and said Mboweni would oversee the implementation of the commission's recommendations.

Nugent found that most failings at Sars stemmed from a “massive failure of governance and integrity” under former commissioner Tom Moyane.

The commission made 27 specific corrective recommendations to rectify past harmful decisions, covering an array of areas that included procurement, organisational design and strengthening of the organisational leadership.

One of the key recommendations was the urgent appointment of a Sars commissioner. The appointment of the new commissioner, Edward Kieswetter, was announced after the cabinet meeting.

The cabinet statement said that Mboweni “would oversee the implementation of the commission's recommendations, including leading a consultative process to amend the Sars Act to improve governance and accountability, and the potential role of an inspector-general compared to a board”. 

The final report of the Nugent commission noted that if there had been a properly performing inspector-general at the time that Moyane was commissioner, this could have prevented “much of the damage and destruction”. An inspector-general could hold the Sars commissioner to account.

ensorl@businesslive.co.za