Skills shortage at SARS after wave of resignations

File photo of people queuing to submit their income tax returns to SARS.
File photo of people queuing to submit their income tax returns to SARS.
Image: Elijar Mushiana

A revival of the SARS large business centre‚ which catered holistically for large corporate clients‚ is on the cards‚ after the critical unit was disbanded in the far-reaching restructuring under suspended commissioner Tom Moyane.

It was disbanded in the restructuring by consultants Bain.

An affidavit read out at the commission of inquiry into governance and administration of the South African Revenue Service in Pretoria on Thursday revealed that as early as January 2017‚ attempts were made by senior officials to re-establish the large business centre.

It was ignited by acting group executive of business and individual taxes Firdose Salleh‚ who was acting in the post while Jonas Makwakwa was on suspension.

She asked the SARS innovation hub to look at ways to re-establish the unit‚ after the effects of its absence were negatively affecting revenue collection.

The process to do so had then kicked off.

However‚ Makwakwa returned to SARS in December and stopped the process completely.

Makwakwa resigned in February.

Evidence leader advocate Carol Steinberg told the commission that acting commissioner Mark Kingon has revived the process again‚ and there were already recommendations before the new SARS executive committee.

There is another snag for the embattled tax agency: there is now a critical shortage of skills for the large business centre‚ due to the wave of resignations after the restructuring‚ the commission heard.

Former large business centre head Sunita Manik was among a host of staff who resigned once the new operating model kicked in.