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Inquiry hears of 'institutionalised chaos' at Sars

Suspended Sars commissioner Tom Moyane.
Tom Moyane Suspended Sars commissioner Tom Moyane.

The commission of inquiry into tax administration and governance at the South African Revenue Service has heard that “institutionalised chaos” may be the cause of a lack of strategy implementation in the revenue service’s IT division.

This was according to Sars’s Digital Information Systems and Technologies chief officer‚ Mmamathe Makhekhe-Mokhuane‚ who delivered her testimony to retired judge Robert Nugent and his commission on Wednesday.

Makhekhe-Mokhuane – who was ridiculed on social media for her statements during an SABC interview earlier on Wednesday – told the commission that since she began in her position in May 2017‚ there has not been one strategy meeting at Sars.

Asked if her division was effective‚ she said more could be done.

“As far as I am concerned‚ I think we can do better. We have a strategy … We have plans on the table. The world has gone digital. We have quite a number of suggestions that we have put on the table. They are going to be done. We have evidence on the table of the proof of concepts we have already done. Some things may not happen as fast as we want‚ we are going to have further discussions to convince the commissioner that these must happen as a matter of urgency‚” she said.

“There are things that you call institutionalised chaos. The testimony was that there’s no strategy and there’s no direction. When I say we must do block chain‚ somebody says it is not leadership or it is not a strategy.”

Makhekhe-Mokhuane also said budget cuts had affected implementation of the IT strategy.

The commission is focusing on Sars’s IT structures following an overhauling of its strategy under now-suspended commissioner Tom Moyane.

Moyane appointed global consultancy firm Gartner to assess Sars’s IT system and strategy – which came at a cost of about R200-million – and halted the revenue service’s modernisation programme.

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