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How does a tax authority go from falling R27bn short of its tax collection target in October to R57bn short six months later?
The answer says as much about the weak state of SA's economy as it does about the weaknesses of the South African Revenue Service (Sars). It suggests, too, that rebuilding the tax authority will not be easy or quick, as commissioner-designate Edward Kieswetter recognises when he talks about "mountains to climb".
Every year, Sars goes public with the final tax take shortly after the fiscal year ends on March 31. Usually, the results are statistically in line with the updated estimates in February's budget, just six weeks before. This time, the shortfall was more than R14bn bigger, giving a total for the year that was almost as high as the record R60bn hole in the depths of the financial crisis. Revenue growth for the year, at 5.8%, was hardly more than half the original 10.6% target.
October's medium-term budget already saw the start of the clean-up of Sars af...
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