EDITORIAL: Sars’ secrecy problem
A disturbing clue of what to expect
Finally there will be a probe into how the SA Revenue Service (Sars) is being run, finance minister Malusi Gigaba revealed this week. He says commissioner Tom Moyane is "fully supportive" of such an investigation.
Ostensibly, Gigaba wants to delve into why Sars fell R50bn short of its collection targets. Is it because, as many think, Sars has lost critical personnel, including those ousted by Moyane because they were seen as close to his predecessor Pravin Gordhan? Or is it that a team of super-auditors on Red Bull couldn’t collect tax in an environment where people are being retrenched every day and companies are struggling to turn a profit?
It’s difficult to be optimistic that any inquiry will find answers, since Moyane doesn’t exactly have a proud history of transparency or honest introspection.
Last week, he reappointed his deputy, Jonas Makwakwa, after a year’s suspension over grave allegations of corruption. But Moyane refused to reveal details of Makwakwa’s disciplinary, other than to say he’d been "cleared". So this magazine lodged a Promotion of Access to Information request for those details.
The Sars response? "The matter is with our legal representatives. As you know, the wheels of justice grind slowly."
In other words, expect us to stifle your request for information at every turn. It’s a disturbing clue of what to expect.