Finance minister Tito Mboweni has extended acting South African Revenue Services (SARS) commissioner Mark Kingon’s term for another 90 days as pressure mounts on President Cyril Ramaphosa to make a permanent appointment.
"The Minister of Finance, Mr Tito Mboweni, has re-appointed Mr Mark Kingon as Acting Commissioner of the South African Revenue Service (SARS) for a further 90 days beginning on December 13, or until such date as a new Commissioner for SARS is appointed by the President," the Ministry of Finance said in a statement on Friday morning.
Mboweni will assist the president in "immediately commencing the process" to appoint a new Commissioner, the statement added, with an advertisement for the position due to be published this weekend. Shortlisted candidates will be presented by Mboweni for Ramaphosa's approval, after which interviews will take place and the interview panel will recommend a candidate or candidates.
This is the third time Kingon’s acting appointment has been extended. He replaced Tom Moyane in March when he was suspended as commissioner.
Moyane has mounted a legal challenge to regain his job and block a successor from being appointed.
He was axed on November 1 by Ramaphosa, following a recommendation by the Nugent Commission of Inquiry to remove him and appoint a permanent tax boss as soon as possible.
Due to the pending legal action, this would have been difficult for Ramaphosa to do.
On Tuesday, however, the North Gauteng High Court dismissed Moyane’s urgent interdict, calling his conduct "abominable", clearing the way for Ramaphosa to appoint his successor.
Ramaphosa in a statement welcomed the ruling and said he would soon initiate the process to appoint a new SARS commissioner.
Moyane has indicated that he will appeal the ruling to the Constitutional Court, but he is yet to file the papers.
With Moyane’s tenure at the revenue agency under scrutiny, amendments to the SARS Act in 2002, which gave the president greater powers to appoint a SARS commissioner, have been questioned.
Several submissions to the Nugent Commission of Inquiry recommended changes to the way a tax boss is appointed, including a suggestion that it follow a similar process to the public protector who is selected by parliament.
The Nugent Commission of Inquiry’s interim report recognised the work Kingon has done in steadying SARS since March but said a permanent appointment is needed.
The final report by the commission, which investigated administration and governance at the revenue agency, is expected to be handed over to Ramaphosa on Friday.