“For the sake of South Africa” – SARS boss Tom Moyane suspended

JOHANNESBURG — South Africans may be forgiven to be weary of late night announcements, as traditionally under the Zuma administration they entailed the good being replaced by the bad. One’s memory might be jogged of a cabinet reshuffle that took place almost a year ago, remembered as the ‘night of the long knives’. The likes of former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan were shifted out for ‘Gupta’ appointees. But, with the change in power in December last year, newly elected president of the ANC and South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa has started to undo the Zupta jigsaw that captured the country piece by piece. With the late night announcements seen more as a reversal of those bad decisions, with his most recent being the suspension of the much maligned SARS boss Tom Moyane. A few hours after Moyane pressed SARS’s spin doctors into action, getting them to issue a media release suggesting that journalists are undermining the integrity of the tax collection organisation. Ramaphosa’s team released a blunt statement saying the suspension was for the sake of the country. Under Moyane’s watch the revenue service ran into a R50 billion revenue deficit, with former Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba even acknowledging bad management and a lack of crucial skills at the agency. The Moyane, Gordhan public spat was well documented and this move is another in putting South Africa back on the right track. – Stuart Lowman

By Paul Vecchiatto and Sam Mkokeli

(Bloomberg) – South African tax agency commissioner Tom Moyane was suspended on Monday and will face disciplinary proceedings as the government seeks to restore trust in the institution, the Presidency said.

Tom Moyane

The decision followed a meeting between Moyane and President Cyril Ramaphosa during which the head of the South African Revenue Service refused a request to resign, the Presidency said in a statement. Ramaphosa said in a letter to Moyane that under his leadership there had been a deterioration in public confidence in the agency and that public finances had been “compromised.”

“For the sake of the country and the economy, this situation cannot be allowed to continue, or to worsen,” the president said in the letter.

Moyane threatened to seek a court interdict to stop plans to remove him from his position, according to two people familiar with the matter.