Sars head of IT Mmamathe Makhekhe-Mokhuane resigns

Former SARS IT chief Mmamathe Makhekhe-Mokhuane
Former SARS IT chief Mmamathe Makhekhe-Mokhuane

Two of the South African Revenue Service's top executives have resigned following interaction between the taxman and their lawyers.

Sars announced that lawyers of its head of IT Mmamathe Makhekhe-Mokhuane and that of group executive of employee relations Luther Lebelo agreed to the termination of their employment with immediate effect.

The two were part of the five executives placed on precautionary suspension in  recent months pending the conclusion of their disciplinary process.

The other three executives were Hlengani Mathebula, chief officer for governance, international relations, strategy and communications, Teboho Mokoena, chief officer for human capital & development, and Refiloe Mokoena, chief officer for legal counsel. Mathebula resigned in August.

“Sars and Ms Makhekhe-Mokhuane and Mr Lebelo, respectively, should, and have agreed to end the employment relationship with immediate effect. Sars will not proceed with further actions against Ms Makhekhe-Mokhuane and Mr Luther Lebelo in pursuance of allegations against them respectively,” Sars said in its statement.

The resignations mean the two will no longer have to answer questions about what they knew about the decimation of Sars under former commissioner Tom Moyane, or their role in it.

Lebelo was a close ally of Moyane's and was singled out as his “hitman” by witnesses at the commission of inquiry into Sars headed by retired judge Robert Nugent. 

Makhekhe-Mokhuane, who was appointed by Moyane, also appeared before the Nugent inquiry, and was forced to apologise for her testimony after she could not answer basic questions. 

New Sars commissioner Edward Kieswetter has been on a clean-up campaign following years of weak governance systems under Moyane.

Governance failures at Sars during Moyane’s reign were partly credited for the revenue shortfalls that saw a VAT increase in 2018 for the first time in more than two decades, hurting the country’s poor. 

Moyane was fired after recommendations by the Nugent inquiry, which found him not fit to hold office and held him largely responsible for the mess the tax agency found itself in.

Kieswetter was appointed Sars commissioner in May.

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