POLITICAL WEEK AHEAD
POLITICAL WEEK AHEAD: Digging into graft and governance at VBS and Sars continues
The national assembly will debate the looting at the mutual bank and executives from the tax agency will appear before the Nugent commission, writes Theto Mahlakoana
This week all eyes will be on newly appointed finance minister Tito Mboweni as he delivers his maiden medium-term budget policy statement, with a contracting economy stifled by persistent low growth.
The speech, to be presented in parliament on Wednesday, is expected to highlight key government priorities and reveal the size of the government’s spending and allocations.
On Sunday it was reported that Mboweni warned that the government could run out of money for basic services due to the public sector wage bill. He is likely to propose solutions to the bulging bill, which has been flagged as a risk for years.
On Tuesday the national assembly and national council of provinces will hold debates on the collapse of VBS Mutual Bank on the back of the recently released report “The Great Bank Heist”, which was compiled by advocate Terry Motau.
The report was commissioned by the Reserve Bank in response to allegations of the looting of the bank, which received massive deposits from several Limpopo municipalities that have since been left in the lurch.
The commission of inquiry into tax administration and governance at the SA Revenue Service (Sars) will continue on Monday following several testimonies that have exposed how governance crumbled at the institution during suspended commissioner Tom Moyane’s reign.
President Cyril Ramaphosa appointed retired judge Robert Nugent to chair the commission with the aim of restoring the credibility of the institution. On Friday acting commissioner Mark Kingon told the inquiry the institution’s leadership has been left “broken and unstable”.
On Monday, the commission will hear testimony from acting chief officer for business and individual tax Fabian Murray, who recently warned that Sars might not be able to collect about 40% of outstanding money from taxpayers.
Sars group executive for employment relations Luther Lebelo is also expected to testify at the commission. Considered a Moyane loyalist, Lebelo acted as chief officer for human capital and development and was moved to his current position in July.
Neville Willemse and Michael Lithgow from international advisory firm Gartner will appear at the commission on Tuesday. The role of Gartner and global consultancy Bain & Co at Sars, hailed by Moyane in 2015 as a move to revitalise the tax agency, has so far been revealed at the commission to be sinister and possibly illegal.
Back in parliament, the constitutional review committee on land will hear oral presentations from various interested parties who made written submissions on the possible review and amendment to section 25 of the constitution.
Meanwhile, the portfolio committee on energy will continue its public hearings into the long-awaited draft integrated resource plan, which envisages the energy mix in 2030 will consist of almost half coal power, with gas and wind the next most important contributors.