Cyril Ramaphosa puts Tom Moyane on ice

Suspended Sars commissioner Tom Moyane.
Suspended Sars commissioner Tom Moyane.
Image: Trevor Samson

President Cyril Ramaphosa last night suspended beleaguered South African Revenue Service (Sars) commissioner Tom Moyane.

The suspension, which was confirmed by Ramaphosa's spokeswoman Khusela Diko, came after a meeting at the weekend between Ramaphosa and Moyane in which he was requested to resign.

"President Ramaphosa has suspended Tom Moyane with immediate effect, pending the institution of disciplinary proceedings," Diko told Sowetan last night.

She said Ramaphosa cited, among his reasons, the deterioration in public confidence in Sars and public finances being compromised.

In a letter to Moyane, Ramaphosa wrote: "Developments at the Sars under your leadership have resulted in a deterioration in public confidence in the institution and in public finances being compromised. For the sake of the country and the economy, this situation cannot be allowed to continue, or to worsen."

Diko said concern was raised in particular about the manner in which Moyane handled the matter of his former second-in-charge, Jonas Makwakwa, his treatment of the report given to him by the Financial Intelligence Centre, and his failure to immediately report this to the Minister of Finance.

"Another concern that was raised was the management of VAT refunds, which had brought Sars into disrepute and potentially jeopardised the integrity of Sars as collector of revenue and adversely affected tax morality among tax payers," she said.

"The decision to suspend Mr Moyane follows a meeting in which President Ramaphosa informed Mr Moyane that he had lost confidence in his ability to lead Sars and offered him an opportunity to resign with immediate effect, which Mr Moyane declined.

"President Ramaphosa indicated that as Sars commissioner, Mr Moyane holds a high position of trust in the management of the country's public finances. It was therefore necessary to act urgently and immediately to protect the institution and place it on a path to stability and recovery."

Sars spokesman Sandile Memela yesterday confirmed that Ramaphosa had a meeting with Moyane at the weekend but refused to reveal its contents, citing confidentiality.

"What may have transpired in the meeting between President Cyril Ramaphosa and Sars commissioner Mr Tom Moyane is a confidential matter between an employer and employee. Sars is not in a position to comment," said Memela.

Sources said Moyane refused to resign, citing the upcoming revenue results announcement as a reason to show his success as commissioner despite the tough economic climate.

A R48-billion hole in revenue collection is piling further pressure on Moyane.

Last week, Moyane announced the resignation of Makwakwa, after the revenue service commissioner had shielded him for more than a year.

- Additional reporting by Natasha Marrian

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