A SERIES of problems with the management of the SA Revenue Service has been revealed in information passed on to the DA by a former Sars official.
DA finance spokesperson Dion George said yesterday the insight is particularly relevant following allegations in the media concerning tender irregularities at Sars.
"Sars has enjoyed praise and the public's trust due to its efficiency and good work over the past few years," George said.
"However, the information received paints a worrying picture of a growing culture of mismanagement, leading to wasteful and fruitless expenditure at an institution at the centre of government finances."
The problems listed include:
l The purchase of 60 4x4 vehicles for customs officials, left unused for months because of a lack of qualified drivers.
l A visit to China customs by Sars officials, the merits of which were never discussed within the executive committee.
l The termination of an IT contract in the middle of programme development, which was then awarded to a lesser known firm of consultants.
l The abandonment of the development of two performance management systems, despite payments to consultants to put these in place.
l The lack of rigorous processes for making property investment decisions.
l Lack of transparency and the restriction on the executive committee to procurement procedures for IT, resulting in the acquisition and abandonment of several systems, and the ballooning of costs - in one instance from R100million to R500million - from poorly constructed contracts.
"Also revealed," George said, "is the failure of Sars to perform its oversight duties at border posts as entries are stamped by officials with no knowledge of what is actually on the trucks.
"The rate of cargo examinations at large ports is less than 2percent.
"Even worse, the hit rate for anti-smuggling and post-clearance audits is at less than 20percent - which means that Sars stops the wrong consignments and audits the wrong trader in eight out of 10 cases."
George added that since problems at Sars affect government coffers and the country's fiscal security, South Africa cannot afford to have Sars fail.
"The information sets out concerning failures and serves as a warning that political will and dedicated management can stop the creeping rot." - I-Net Bridge