Edward Kieswetter is the new SARS boss

27 March 2019 - 18:26
By TimesLIVE
Edward Kieswetter has been appointed the new SARS commissioner. File photo.
Image: Simon Mathebula Edward Kieswetter has been appointed the new SARS commissioner. File photo.

Former SA Revenue Service (SARS) deputy commissioner Edward Kieswetter has been appointed as the new tax agency boss.

President Cyril Ramaphosa made the appointment on Wednesday, the National Treasury said in a statement. His appointment is effective from May 1.

According to the statement, Kieswetter “emerged as the strongest candidate” from six shortlisted applicants, Nathaniel Mabetwa, Sunita Manik, Mark Kingon, Gene Ravele and Nazrien Kader.

His appointment, treasury said, was “based on his past experience as deputy commissioner for SARS between 2004 and 2009, and his subsequent track record of transformative leadership and his experience of turning around a large institution”.

“During his tenure at SARS, Mr Kieswetter established the Large Business Centre and High Net Worth Individual Unit, leading to both compliance and revenue collection improvements,” the statement said.

It added that during his tenure at Alexander Forbes Group Holdings – where he served as group chief executive – Kieswetter “achieved a significant turnaround of the group, with particular attention to governance, integrity and restoring the group’s reputation”.

Quoted in the treasury statement, Ramaphosa said: “We have every confidence that Mr Kieswetter has the experience, integrity and skills required to turn SARS around by restoring revenue collection, redirecting operations toward innovation, developing future leaders for the organisation, and restoring SARS’ credibility and integrity.”

Finance minister Tito Mboweni wished Kieswetter well in his new post and “looked forward to seeing SARS re-established as a respected tax collector and improved revenue collection outcomes”.

“I expect him to act without fear or favour, to restore and defend the integrity of SARS and to uphold taxpayer rights when carrying out his duties as the commissioner, by implementing the recommendations of the Nugent Commission and restoring SARS to a world-class organisation,” said Mboweni.

Treasury said it was satisfied with the process in appointing Kieswetter.

“Kieswetter has an impressive record in the public & private sector as a senior executive at Eskom, deputy commissioner of SARS and more recently group chief executive of Alexander Forbes, where he led a turnaround, restoring the organisation’s reputation, ethical values, integrity and revenue performance, successfully listing the company on the JSE in 2014,” treasury said in Kieswetter’s CV.

“Experienced in governance, he serves in the role of board chairman, non-executive director and (on) several committees on local and international boards," it said, adding that he had recently been appointed to the board of Transnet SOC to help address the effects of state capture.

Kieswetter lives between Cape Town and Johannesburg, and has a masters degree in commerce in SA and international tax law.

Kieswetter worked at Alexander Forbes from 2010 to 2016.

He is a member of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation.