29 March 2019

South Africa: Cabinet Welcomes New SARS Commissioner

Cabinet has welcomed the appointment of Edward Christian Kieswetter as the new Commissioner of SARS, with effect from 1 May 2019.

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday announced that Kieswetter will lead the revenue collector following a recommendation from a recruitment panel.

Cabinet said Kieswetter brings to SARS a wealth of managerial experience, which he acquired from both the private and public sectors. The new Commissioner, who has a Master's Degree in Commerce in SA and international tax law, worked at Alexander Forbes from 2010 to 2016 and is a member of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation.

He obtained his Honours Degree in Education Science in 1988, a Master of Science Education in 1996 and a Master of Business Administration in 2001, amongst others.

The conclusion of this appointment gives effect to the recommendation made by the Commission of Inquiry into Tax Administration and Governance by SARS, chaired by retired Judge Robert Nugent.

Meanwhile, Cabinet said it was briefed on the outcome of the work of the Commission of Inquiry into Tax Administration and Governance by SARS and welcomed its findings and recommendations.

President Ramaphosa on 24 May 2018 appointed the commission to, among others, stabilise SARS, restore its credibility and strengthen its capacity to meet revenue targets. Its interim report was submitted on 27 September 2018 and the final report on 11 December 2018.

"Cabinet noted the findings of the commission that most failings at SARS stemmed from a 'massive failure of governance and integrity' under the former Commissioner," the statement reads.

The commission made 27 corrective recommendations to rectify past harmful decisions, covering an array of areas which included procurement, organizational design and strengthening of the organisational leadership. One of the key recommendations has been the urgent appointment of the Commissioner for SARS.

Cabinet expressed its broad support for the recommendations made by the Commission and the Minister of Finance will oversee the implementation of its recommendations, including leading a consultative process to amend the SARS Act to improve governance and accountability, and the potential role of an Inspector General compared to a Board.

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