What Ramaphosa told suspended SARS boss Tom Moyane in scathing letter

20 March 2018 - 08:38
By Qaanitah Hunter
President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Image: GCIS President Cyril Ramaphosa.

President Cyril Ramaphosa pulled no punches in a strongly worded letter he wrote to suspended South African Revenue Service commissioner Tom Moyane on Monday informing him of his suspension. 

In the three-page letter obtained by TimesLIVE‚ Ramaphosa told Moyane that he had lost confidence in his ability to lead the revenue collector and that Moyane has brought SARS into disrepute. 

Ramaphosa accused Moyane of not being willing to acknowledge his failures or “the magnitude of the consequences of your action” in the letter that was sent to Moyane after he refused to resign on Monday. 

“Developments at the SARS under your leadership have resulted in a deterioration in public confidence in the institution and in public finances being compromised‚” the president wrote. 

Ramaphosa said the situation at SARS could not be allowed to continue or worsen “for the sake of the country and the economy”. 

“Your position is not one of any ordinary employee. Your obligation to be responsible for the performance of SARS and its functions impacts on the public purse and therefore the wellbeing of the nation as a whole‚” he said. 

Ramaphosa said the situation at SARS was an exceptional circumstance that required urgent and immediate action. 

Ramaphosa cited two specific cases where Moyane failed at his job - firstly in managing the matter of Jonas Makwakwa‚ the former SARS chief officer for business and individual tax‚ his treatment of the report given to him by the Financial Intelligence Centre‚ and his failure to immediately report this to the Minister of Finance.

Makwakwa‚ who resigned from his position last week‚ was accused of money laundering after the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) flagged cash deposits of R1.7-million made into his bank account. 

“You have… failed in your role as an accounting officer for SARS. As a result‚ the SARS has been fundamentally jeopardized and has lost the confidence of taxpayers‚” Ramaphosa told Moyane in the letter. 

Ramaphosa further accused Moyane of bringing SARS into disrepute‚ failing in his duties and potentially jeopardizing the integrity and viability of SARS in how he managed the issue of VAT refunds. 

“The disrepute in which you have brought the SARS and the government as a whole and the risk to the national Revenue Fund are enormous.”

Ramaphosa told Moyane that he had no choice but to suspend him pending disciplinary action against him and further hinted that if Moyane wanted to challenge the decision in court‚ the president was ready for that fight.