Sars 1 - SA government 0

2010-07-02 07:19

Dear Editor,

I must say.  I’m fairly impressed with the South African Revenue Service. For a so called “third-world” country, Sars seems to be doing a lot right.

Yes, as a taxpayer on the receiving-end (or non-receiving, depending on your perspective) of ever increasing Sars efficiency, I’m somewhat pleased with the big strides they’ve made to become one of the better run national departments of our country.

Another year on and Sars have again announced even greater controls to ensure another successful tax collection season.

What’s concerning however, is that Sars is able to continue their self-improvement across all of their processes and systems, increasing the government tax collection coffers, only for those much needed state funds to be squandered, mismanaged, misappropriated, or simply blown on some unneeded office party or some self-indulging ostentatious conference where all the big-eating politicians sing each others’ praises.

What is the point of having a world-class revenue service that’s so good at collecting taxes, only to have a government on the receiving end that cannot manage the funds? I mean really. What is the point?

Until the government is able to properly manage budgets and allocate state funds, and until all municipal tender awarding processes become transparent, we will not be able to fully appreciate the progress that departments like SARS have made.

Accountable and competent financial management within our government will go a long way in helping to deliver that “better life for all” dream that we hear every election.


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  • Madeleine - 2010-07-02 07:59

    I couldn't agree more! Well written GT.

  • Me - 2010-07-02 08:01

    Totally agree with you. I don't mind paying tax, I'd just like to see it been put to good use.

  • Wimpie - 2010-07-02 08:04

    Very true. Also, while on the note of super efficiency, other government departments could surely go for lessons on how do work more efficiently, becoming the civil servants they are, instead of the rulers of each his/her own little kingdom as they think they are.

  • Me again - 2010-07-02 08:06

    And yet they treat 'some' of their workers like prison fodder, giving only incentive bonus to a chosen few.....makes you think doesn't it? (Maybe they got their ideas from the government of the day?)

  • Sars Official - 2010-07-02 08:07

    I agree FULLY! We get fed up of the situation because every year we get pushed more & more since our work is 100% productivity based. Dont get me wrong its a GREAT company to work for, but it ALOT of hard work & there's alot of stress involved to meet the targets. Its hardbreaking to see how the revenue get wasted! I still think that SARS must 'distribute' the collected money to the allocated 'departments' I would rather prefer that SARS gain FULL control over the money, since the government don't know how 'work with money' Thats just my opinion hey! By da way, Thank you to the taxpayers out there. If the money get spended how it should be spended we can indeed "MAKE SOUTH AFRICA GREAT"!!!

  • SARS Official 1 - 2010-07-02 08:17

    I work for SARS... In the public eye, SARS is the best run government agencies, however corruption and greed is ever so strife in this organisation. Let me elaborate, June was bonus month, it was pre-decided, that the people qualifying for bonuses will only be 70% of SARS Staff.(Leaked info) "Now", the fat cats thought, "How do we reject 30% of staff?" They 'moderated' performance scores by as much as 10%, so that 30% of staff do not qualify. And to note as well, SARS made R8 billion over the revised target last Financial year and I'm sure the fat cats received hundred thousands bonuses. So, this is what SARS is about. Robbing the employees to provide for their greedy colleagues in other government departments. And obviously, SARS fat cats, get a massive share of the spoils!!!

  • V - 2010-07-02 08:19

    For someone who works for SARS its great to see that some appreciate the work we do.

  • ClintWestwood - 2010-07-02 08:21

    It ismuch easier to (mis)spend money, when it is not yours. Especially when you know there's a bunch of "suckers" at the other end who keep it coming.Since when were politicians able to manage other peoples' money anayway?

  • gpwengineer - 2010-07-02 08:23

    I think it has to do with the fact that there is only 5 million taxpayers for sars to manage. On the other hand, the SA government has got to use this revenue from 5 million taxpayers to pay for cover the expense of 48million citizens and 15 million illegal immigrants. Not to mention the commission fee (bribes) for doing that

  • Richard - 2010-07-02 08:24

    Good article GT, I agree 100%. We pay taxes in many forms: income tax, VAT, petrol tax, soon to be introduced toll roads etc etc. Where is all this money going? I wish all govt departments were as efficient as SARS! Diverging slightly, but you would think that between all the taxes we pay the govt should be able to fund the new roads in Gauteng?!

  • DeonL - 2010-07-02 08:25

    The waste will never stop unless we get rid of the top crooks like Mr Zuma and his tender friendly ministers!

  • ir8m8 - 2010-07-02 08:30

    ok so what you woke up this morning and decided you needed your face in public and decided to write or should i say rehash a story, sorry boring been there done that...Join, do something constructive for a change.

  • ED - 2010-07-02 08:31

    Well said - the government is useless. But the perceived effectiveness of SARS has come at a price for employers. All that SARS has done, has decreased their work and put more strain on tax practitioners and employers to produce more paperwork/info on submissions. This in a country where people don't know their own ID numbers by heart... And then SARS takes forever to correct their own mistakes, leaving taxpayers waiting months to years for SARS to amend wrongly assessed taxes. The window dressing at SARS looks great, but wait until you have to wait for SARS...

  • Government Official - 2010-07-02 08:32

    i don't know why you people feel you should know everything about how we spend your taxes, it is our business, we've brought you the world cup, the Gautrain, we bought more police vehicles - what more do you want. And the Olympics as well we are fighting to host them, lastly the Blue light convoys have to be upgraded in order for our diligent ministers to make meetings on time. We have worked very hard for you people, appreciate us!!

    93% of you lot submitted taxes so that's good, the 7% don't worry about them - we will be dipping into their accounts & institute garnishing orders, SIYANINGENA NOU!!

    we are gatvol of your ducking & diving, this is S.A.. FEELIT - YOU WILL, COME PAY DAY

  • TEAM LEADER@Me again - 2010-07-02 08:32

    Dont be sour because you didnt get incentive bonus, next time try HARDER!!! No one is forcing you to work where you work, so if you dont like it...GET OUT!!! You sound like one of those persons who just want to 'stagnate' & then complaines about your situation afterwards!!! You are the master of your own destiny & remember...There is always a 100 reasons/excuses NOT to do something when the opportunity presents itself!! Have a nice day & keep that head up.

  • my view - 2010-07-02 08:35

    The root of the problem is that the majority voters do not contribute to the tax income (except via VAT). They do not realise that their VAT on products and services are also part of the mismanagement in government. Vote with the mind, not with the heart will always be an issue. Social grants are going to become a major burden in the near feature as the "grant receiving" voters’ population growth escalates and the "income tax paying" population decrease in ratio.

  • Economist - 2010-07-02 08:36

    we live in a country where we have 5 million taxpayers and 12.8 million people on welfare, you do the math

  • White Man - 2010-07-02 08:40

    The Gov. Dep are able, they just dont want to. If they were on song, they would not be able to hide the coruption.

  • TEAM LEADER@SARS Official 1 - 2010-07-02 08:55

    Then next time...DONT WORK FOR THE BONUS!!! We are sick of you winers. I hope they take bonuses away...COMPLETELY... so no one have to Bitch & Moan!!!

  • mwa - 2010-07-02 08:59

    while good collection is done, the poor staff is worked like donkeys, paid peanuts and treated like crap.dont mension the working enviroment coz factories in china are heaven compared to that place. As far as the new head of is concerned; we will be having another Eskom situation at you trust SARS soon. so enjoy the good collection while it lasts, sooner than later, we will have far less staff employed. By the way, the biggest part of the cake is given to top eczc's, what the goverment is given, is only crums.

  • mukesh - 2010-07-02 08:59

    Look at the calibre of the once head of SARS, Pravin Gordan. I'm sure he drives the least expensive car from the ministers, does not accept kickbacks etc. Thanks must also go to the managers he hand picked. Without the managers he is noting. So if the fat cats gets 70% bonus. Then so be it; otherwise they will to open to bribes etc.

  • Nathi - 2010-07-02 09:00

    If the govt managed to have funds to built stadia for the WC surely it can manage those funds effectively to empower and better its people.

  • Me - 2010-07-02 09:02

    @ Government Official. You are the perfect example of an idiotic Government Official. You have just proven to us all why the Government can't get anything right, thanx. Moron.

  • Government Official - 2010-07-02 09:03

    & to add to what i said earlier, Soccer City as vast & huge as it is, atleast now we will be able to hold our rallies & fun days so that you can all see that atleast the money has been spent on the people, after the world cup we shall slaughter 150 cattle to show our appreciation to you, this will all be at Soccer City.

    Let us all strive to pay our taxes - on time,

    PS: we have a ZERO, NIL tolerance to those that default on their taxes,

    days of taking chances are over now!!

    KE NAKO!!

  • GT - 2010-07-02 09:04

    It worries me greatly that tax officials are paid bonuses for collection. They have powerful tools to abuse the taxpayer in order to meet targets. The law is so heavily slanted in favour of SARS that the public should be made aware of EXACTLY what incentives are in place. Anyone who has been on the recieving end of heavy handed, unintelligent, poorly educated SARS officials (obviously chasing shadows for bonuses) knows what I mean.

  • bobmarley - 2010-07-02 09:06

    Yet another writing complaining about something everyone knows. Yes it is better to complain than to keep silent but the time has come for solutions and actions to rectify the injustice.

  • Corry - 2010-07-02 09:08

    What do you mean government can't manage the funds?
    Actually they're doing a stirling job.

    That is of course if managing the funds means siphoning off to their own and cronies' pockets.
    Granted, as taxpayers, our view as to how this money SHOULD be spent is completely different

  • Hennie - 2010-07-02 09:10

    I agree totally with the Sars officials,judging by their comments,there must be quite a few fatcats driving Q7'S

  • bongani - 2010-07-02 09:13

    People i know it is friday, but you do not have to fastforward your weekend. SARS is a government subdivision. how can you say SARS 1 governement 0 and all other idiots here agree with you.

  • Cynical - 2010-07-02 09:17

    If SARS are collecting so much money, why don't they spend some on bigger offices in the Cape Town CBD? It is a frigging nightmare to visit their offices in Lower Long Street - there is ALWAYS a queue at least a mile long and the waiting time is unacceptable. Never had this problem when they were in Plein Street. Also have difficulty in contacting them when I phone their helpline. Third World as usual. World class my ass!

  • Li - 2010-07-02 09:20

    Whoo hoo!! Go GT!! Great article, i couldn't agree more

  • JJ - 2010-07-02 09:21

    What do you mean "What's the point" The point is that the cronies in the right places etc. etc. etc. get rich at the expense of the rest of SA. So they don't have a problem with it as they are getting it right beautifully. So all is well in our Rainbow Nation.

  • Mothusi mosweu - 2010-07-02 09:21

    GT! I salut you opinion or rather fact, its serves as an eye opening statement, we are really "as SARS" striving everyday to make things better ,if not best for the wellbeing of our people not collecting taxes only but duties as well for goods imported in our precious land, butlike you said we are doing it for nothing as when we measure progress we see corruption "which a huge challenge for some loyal and dedicated politicians and good public servants alike. Big man as we look backwards and try to observe things with a very close eye , i think in this instance Planning commission , under the leadership of Mr Trevor Manual was established with a primary mandate of monitoring and evaluating the government department in terms of their culture of spending ,for national, provicial and municipal level as of far we are looking to Mr Manual to give us a report concerning the above matters.The mission advice and guiding the public must be practiced everytime ad everywhere "GT" lovely letter... lets serve.

  • Official@GT - 2010-07-02 09:22

    The targets is not money based. You get your 200 documents a day which can be new registrations, general queries ext. which must be finalised in that day...

  • alan - 2010-07-02 09:27

    Everyone on this site is aware that the Government is up to its ears in corruption, spends billions needlessly on trying to look good, stays in 5-star hotels, drives the latest Mercs etc and achieves little except endless talkfests where they 'engage' with issues and then never do anything about them. The real question is: how do the unemployed voters get to hear these truths? A billboard up in Soweto naming and shaming all the corrupt ANC officials? Radio commercials that tell the truth about the ANC's shameless greed and waste? Because the voters DO need to be aware of these things if we are to succeed in future.

  • mwa - 2010-07-02 10:05

    GT- Revenue officers always got bonuses; actually from 19Botha right thru to 20Zuma.
    So; when exactly did these bonuses start to bother you?

  • And Also... - 2010-07-02 10:09

    All consumers pay VAT.

  • Slingervel - 2010-07-02 10:21

    If SARS is not sufficiant there would be no money for tha anc to steal simple realy

  • NK - 2010-07-02 10:28

    Oh my word... what nonsense! The Government didn't bring the Fifa 2010 - Fifa chose us! And the Employees made it happen. Without us to do all the work - what would the government have done? It's all a wild circle I say... All the work done for the Government is just your tax previously payed to you and then you're Taxed again on that. What the heck! Us as people do not benefit out of anything except been drowned continuously from the greed!

  • nigel - 2010-07-02 10:29

    Interesting comment about SARS

  • SARS T/M - 2010-07-02 10:42

    I agree with SARS Official.T/L if dont like someone speaking his /her mind why are you a teamleader think you should reconsider your position.There are too many people putting in positions that they dont qualify for as well as in government that is why things is as they are,SO MIXED UP.We at SARS are semi-government,suprise ppl yep eventhough we collect the most money the fully government department reap our fruits of labour.

    Our bonusses compared with the fully government department is so pathetic.Just wish we could be recognize for the hard work we are doing.The government has it very easy because they just sit back and wait for money to waste it on whatever luxury their hearts desire in the meanwhile there are ppl in SA living in poor areas that does not even have enough money to buy a loaf of bread for the day but does goverment care oh no as long as they family are taken care off the others can die of hunger.South Africa is suppose to be better but its getting worse and worse by the day

  • v - 2010-07-02 10:44

    I used to work for SARS and let you all in on a few secrets . Most of the staff have only matric and are uselss. The managers are only there because they know someone , not because they are qualified. if you want to move up the ranks , you need to sleep with someone. Up until recently SARS employees did not get free tea and coffee and now they do , greedy workers steal the lot . Dont be fooled that SARS is great its not , the people that work there are not great at all , if they go into the private sector they cant manage as they live in a comfort zone in their jobs. When its hometime , people run for the door . Managers cant even spell properly never mind do their jobs .

  • MWA - 2010-07-02 11:02

    shame on you V, but then again, well done for exposing your stole the coffee, didnt do your job becauseyou are illiterate. and now you are bitter for being fired coz you where trying to sleep you way to the top; but it didnt work. So you are angry against those that did...

  • SARS Official 1 - 2010-07-02 11:03

    Brilliant Nigel and V... My sentiments exactly!!!

  • Me again@GT - 2010-07-02 11:47

    Hey News24!!! Where's my rebuttal to teamleader? He NEEDs to know... never mind...@GT, if you worked here, you would understand, we are being pushed like slaves to make the galley owner happy, but if we do things out of the ordinary to bring in revenue, thus providing for jz's next kid, we're promised bonusses, and then they refuse to deliver, but hand it over to those who sit on their lazy behinds, get the credit while the 'slaves' do all the work.

  • malcomx@My view - 2010-07-02 11:48

    You are a racist and you dont know it. We will never be your victims again as we are in power, in my view i sugest you book yourself a ticket to Aus, there is a flight at 21h10, start packing now, and there your skin colour is still represents authority, now Voesek!

  • @ teaml eader - 2010-07-02 12:38

    TEAM LEADER, I like your attitude: GET OUT. You realize that is driving the people with experience and knowledge away? Yes there are a lot of people looking for jobs. Get Nigerians and Zims. They know SARS inside out, also worked years at SARS. It that why SARS employees get every 5 years a “long service” award? You are not worth the name: team leader if this is the sort of comments you making. Now get back to you work for a change.
    As a matter of fact the team leaders upwards are not supposed to receive intensive bonuses. Give it for a change to people that is really WORKING.

  • whos next? - 2010-07-02 12:49

    Selebi found guilty! Finally! Who's next inline to be held accountable for their corruption and lies? Let me see:
    1) Julius Malema
    2) Julius Malema
    3)Julius Malema

    That should be it!

  • Knight of Cydonia - 2010-07-02 13:02

    Being an accountant, I work with SARS alot. I agree with you GT, they are very efficient when it comes to collecting. With admin and support queries, its unfortunately a way different story. They do take their time with these

  • Kev - 2010-07-02 13:11

    SARS is certainly a centre of excellence withing Government, and you're right - other Government Departments can learn alot from SARS. Pravin Gordhan was largely responsible for turning SARS around, so let's hope that as the Minister of Finance he will push for the same improvements in his department as well as all other Government departments.