The DA welcomes Finance Minister, Malusi Gigaba's, announcement today that a Commission of Inquiry will be established to look into issues at the South African Revenue Service (SARS).
These are not new issues, but have been plaguing the SARS for some time now, and include:
- The mass exodus of Senior and effective employees;
- Reports of unlawful (according to the Auditor-General) bonuses paid out to SARS executives;
- Undue delays and wrongful obstructions to tax refunds;
- As well as factually incorrect communication surrounding people's tax returns.
The problems are clearly not new and have only worsened through the course of this year. The latest estimates, announced in the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement, pencil in a staggering revenue shortfall in excess of R50 billion for the current financial year.
In light of the continuing deterioration of the situation at SARS, the terms of reference that will guide the inquiry need to be defined and must be made public as soon as possible.
With the wide range of issues plaguing the SARS, the leadership of the institution must be thoroughly investigated, and the scope of the inquiry must extend at least as far back as when Tom Moyane was first appointed as the Commissioner of SARS.
This is imperative in ensuring transparency and openness over an issue that has to date been mired in a cloud of confidentiality.
The deterioration of the public's trust in SARS must be halted to avoid further shortfalls in revenue collections.
Alf Lees MP
DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Finance