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Former Sars COO could find ‘no value’ in work done by Gartner

Suspended Sars commissioner Tom Moyane at the centre
Suspended Sars commissioner Tom Moyane at the centre

Former South African Revenue Service (Sars) chief operations officer Barry Hore has slammed a report by global consultancy firm Gartner‚ saying he could find “no value” in the work which cost the revenue service about R200-million.

Hore was testifying at retired judge Robert Nugent’s commission of inquiry into tax administration and governance at Sars on Thursday. He served as COO between 2010 and 2014‚ resigning shortly after now-suspended commissioner Tom Moyane took over.

Hore also spearheaded a modernisation programme at Sars which was halted after Gartner’s recommendations were made.

According to Gartner’s report‚ the firm agreed that Sars’ core business is revenue collection and that it needed to be a consumer-centric organisation. Hore told the commission these were the only two points of the report he could agree with.

The commission provided Hore with a copy of the report and asked him to give his opinion on the process used by the firm in evaluating Sars’ IT strategy and the findings it then derived.

Evidence leader advocate Carol Steinberg‚ reading from a 2014 memorandum between then acting Sars commissioner Ivan Pillay and Hore‚ showed the organisation wanted to conduct an independent review of its modernisation programme (which had been running since 2007) and detailed the terms of reference for the audit.

The proposed budget was about R10-million for the entire job.

Gartner’s IT review‚ which happened over a 10-week period‚ cost Sars about R200-million. Slides compiled by Hore using extracts of Gartner’s final presentation shows the firm delivered its final report to Moyane on April 10‚ 2015. The first draft was presented to Moyane three days later and a revised version on April 24.

“Where is exco and everybody else in these processes?” Hore asked.

Gartner also found it “impossible to quantify” the value delivered from the modernisation programme and could not calculate its return on investment.

Hore said the programme was actually expected to deliver cumulative savings of R3.8-billion in the four years to March 2015‚ which matched Sars’ total investment in the programme since its inception. He said savings in perpetuity totaled R26.6-billion.

“The secret process I don’t understand at all. The findings weren’t shared so how do you know if it’s right. They (Gartner say they interviewed hundreds of individuals but I don’t know how this was done by 15 people‚” Hore said.

“It seems like there was a predetermined outcome and they wanted it and they got it… I’m not sure there’s value I can find. It started from a diagnostic which lacks credibility in itself. I wouldn’t have paid that money for it.”

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