Mark Kingon, acting commissioner of SARS. Picture: BLOOMBERG
Mark Kingon, acting commissioner of SARS. Picture: BLOOMBERG

One of the curses of our country is the long-running epidemic of appointing officials in an "acting" capacity to senior posts in government and state-owned companies. Anyone who has acted in any job at any level, or worked for someone who is, knows how debilitating it can be to the organisation.

Aware that they have no security of tenure, the actors usually default to marking time. They cannot strategise, plan or make big decisions, and their subordinates know it.

Mark Kingon, acting commissioner of the SA Revenue Service (Sars) since the suspension of Tom Moyane in March, has been an exception. He has acted swiftly and imaginatively — and with courage — to repair some of the considerable damage. So why not confirm him now?

He is vastly experienced through his decades of service, he knows the organisation intimately, and he knows what needs to be fixed. His political alignment is not known — but he must have had his wits about him to survive the Moyane era.

Kingon has vindicated President Cyril Ramaphosa’s confidence in him. Sars needs stability and purposeful leadership. This is no time for a new commissioner.

Appointing Kingon would also send a useful signal that top civil service jobs should not be filled by cadre deployment but by qualified, experienced people.