Ramaphosa sets up inquiry into the affairs of the taxman

23 May 2018 - 15:50 By Thabo Mokone
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President Cyril Ramaphosa
President Cyril Ramaphosa

In his latest move to clean up law enforcement agencies‚ President Cyril Ramaphosa has established a commission of inquiry to probe governance issues at the SA Revenue Service.

Ramaphosa made the announcement in the National Assembly on Wednesday during the 2018/2019 Presidency budget vote.

“The stabilisation of the SARS has received priority attention‚ I have today signed a proclamation establishing a commission of inquiry into tax administration and governance chaired by former judge Robert Nugent and assisted by Mr Michael Katz‚ Advocate Mabongi Masilo and Mr Vuyo Khahla‚” the president told MPs.

“The terms of reference will be gazetted in the coming days. We have also taken steps to address the leadership challenges at SARS‚ including the suspension of the commissioner (Tom Moyane)‚ the initiation of a process (against Moyane) and the appointment of an acting commissioner.”

Ramaphosa also said he was still in the process of setting up a panel of security experts who would conduct a comprehensive review of governance issues at the State Security Agency after reports emerged that it had been plagued by serious allegations of financial mismanagement‚ corruption and abuse of power for years.

The president also told lawmakers that the Cabinet was supportive of his idea of instituting a presidential state-owned enterprise council to tighten oversight on the publicly owned companies that had thus far been embroiled in scandal‚ financial mismanagement and other governance failures.

“We're also encouraged by the activism of Parliament‚ which is demanding accountability and exposing impropriety.

“Cabinet has agreed on establishment of the presidential state-owned enterprise council which will usher in a new era in the management of our SOCs.

“Half the members will consist of ministers while the others will be people from business‚ some of them will be experts and various other stakeholders. By bringing expertise from outside government and by ensuring the attendance of CEOs of some of these companies‚ we will be empowering the various shareholder ministers to ensure all strategic SOEs play an effective role in expanding the capacity and potential of our economy.

“In addition to determining an appropriate shareholder ownership model‚ the council will oversee interventions to strengthen governance‚ address immediate liquidity challenges‚ implement turnaround strategies‚ investigate allegations of corruption and take steps to act against those who are implicated.”

Ramaphosa also announced that he's decided to donate half of his annual presidential salary (R3.6-million) to a fund managed by the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

“This is a private-citizen-driven initiative that will ask all those with the means to contribute a small portion of their salaries to support the many projects to build a nation. This fund will be launched on July 18 to mark the 100th anniversary of Madiba's birth and will be called the Nelson Mandela Thuma Mina Fund.”

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