Moyane: Hell no, I won’t go - but then he gets pushed
SARS boss defies Ramaphosa’s order but then gets the chop late at night
SA Revenue Service commissioner Tom Moyane refused to resign when he was asked to do so by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Ramaphosa then announced in a late-night statement on Monday that Moyane had been suspended.
The presidency said a letter had been sent to Moyane that told him: "Developments at 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."
Moyane’s handling of the saga about his second in charge, Jonas Makwakwa, has landed him in hot water in parliament.
Makwakwa resigned last week after Times Select revealed that one of the companies channelling money into his personal bank accounts was recently appointed as a debt collector by SARS.
Moyane had to defend himself last week when further details emerged concerning a 2017 City Press report of a R70-million value-added tax refund to the Gupta family.
Moyane was already in a precarious position following the announcement of a tax revenue shortfall of R48.2-billion in the February budget. The deficit shows a year-on-year increase. In 2017, the deficit in revenue was R30.7-billion.
It is understood that Ramaphosa asked Moyane to resign on Sunday night but Moyane said he would not do so, citing the upcoming revenue results announcement as a reason.According to sources Moyane intended using the results announcement to show his success as commissioner despite the tough economic climate.
He is said to want to “resign on his own terms”.
The presidency, contacted for comment on Monday, would “not confirm or deny” that the president had a discussion with Moyane.
But late on Monday evening, the presidency issued a statement saying Moyane had been informed of his suspension "with immediate effect", adding that it was "in the public interest to restore the credibility of Sars without delay".
While there was speculation that Moyane was approaching the courts to block his removal from office, this could not be independently confirmed.
It is understood that former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas could be appointed as an interim commissioner.
The furore at the tax agency come on the cusp of an announcement by Moody’s on Friday this week over whether South Africa’s investment status would be downgraded.
SARS on Monday issued a statement saying that Moyane was being vilified unnecessarily by the media.
“SARS has observed and witnessed an unrelenting media attack that is skewed to project a misleading and unsubstantiated tone that is aimed at denting the reputation of the organisation,” said spokesman Sandile Mamela.He outlined Moyane's “achievements” at SARS and welcomed the inquiry announced by Ramaphosa into the service’s tax administration and governance.
“It is to that end that SARS believes all these malicious and untruthful allegations will be better ventilated and dispelled at the envisaged inquiry.
“It is only through such a thorough and transparent process that the true facts regarding SARS will be established and all media manufactured narratives will be exposed,” Mamela said.
Moyane last week announced the resignation of Makwakwa after the SARS commissioner had shielded him for over a year.
Moyane was presented with a Financial Intelligence Centre report into suspicious and unusual transactions into Makwakwa’s personal bank accounts and that of his partner Kelly-Anne Elskie in May 2016. After a year-long investigation by international law firm Hogan Lovells, Makwakwa was cleared of all charges and returned to work after being suspended for over a year in December.