The damage that former president Jacob Zuma’s efforts to hollow out state institutions did to the fabric of SA’s society and economy will take a long time and a great political will to fix. But if there is one area in which the turnaround is most urgent — and most material to the government’s ability to meet its own objectives — it is the South African Revenue Service (SARS). That makes it essential that SA gets an outcome soon from the disciplinary procedure that has been launched against suspended SARS commissioner Tom Moyane. It makes it essential, too, that the inquiry into SARS that President Cyril Ramaphosa has promised starts as soon as possible and concludes its work smartly and speedily. Moyane’s tenure at the tax authority has done deep damage to a once world-renowned institution whose effectiveness from the late 1990s did much to create the space for the government to bump up social spending while slashing the public debt. But under Moyane, who took over late in 2014, SAR...

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