'It's time to move away from a countrywide lockdown': Sars commissioner Edward Kieswetter

16 May 2020 - 12:23 By Rethabile Radebe
Sars commissioner Edward Kieswetter expressed concern about economic capacity being lost as a result of numerous businesses having to shut down completely post the lockdown due to Covid-19.
Sars commissioner Edward Kieswetter expressed concern about economic capacity being lost as a result of numerous businesses having to shut down completely post the lockdown due to Covid-19.
Image: Simon Mathebula

SA Revenue Service (Sars) commissioner Edward Kieswetter says it is time government considers lifting lockdown regulations in those parts of the country where infection rates are not high in order for economic activities to resume.

“It is clear that we do not need a countrywide lockdown, there are provinces where the infection rates are low and clearly you can free up economic activity in those areas ... The time is ready to move from a countrywide lockdown to a more calibrated lockdown that treats every ward on its own merits, that is the essence of a risk-based approach.”

During an interview on eNCA Kieswetter also revealed that over 400 Sars employees had donated part of their salaries towards the Solidarity Fund to help fight the scourge of the coronavirus in SA.

He said: “In a country where 10 million people are without work and Covid-19, like any other crisis, affects the poorest and most vulnerable in society, you cannot stand by and reflect on your own privilege and not reach out to those who are less privileged than you.”

Kieswetter also admitted that the collection of tax revenue has proven to be difficult as a result of a number of factors such as the Covid-19 lockdown, which saw a number of businesses being temporarily shut down, as well as negative outlook reviews by ratings agencies.

“Our initial and early indication suggests that we would definitely experience a significant under-collection. We saw that in two ways, firstly by significant decline in the year-on-year, in other words, April to April, underperformance of imports.”

Kieswetter expressed concern about economic capacity being lost as a result of numerous businesses having to shut down completely post the lockdown due to Covid-19.


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