Johannesburg- Trade unions broadly welcomed the suspension of South African Revenue Service (SARS) Commissioner Tom Moyane on Tuesday saying that his tenure directly affected the “economy and the people as a whole”.
“This action was long overdue, after 42-months in which this vital public institution was captured by people milking the [state] of billions of rand and dodging paying tax”, the South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) said in a statement.
The Federation of Unions of South Africa (Fedusa) commented that the revenue shortfall this financial year, estimated to be approximately R48bn, should be blamed on Moyane. “SARS's reputation as a world class tax collection deteriorated so severely under Moyane’s watch to the point where the country started to suffer revenue shortfalls running into billions of rand and tax morality took a nosedive.”
Moyane was suspended in a scathing letter by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday night in which he accused him of bringing SARS and the entire government into disrepute.
In an earlier letter to Ramaphosa, Moyane threatened to take legal action against his suspension or dismissal, but by noon on Tuesday, he was yet to confirm whether he’d proceed with this.
The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) welcomed Moyane being placed on suspension, pending a disciplinary process. “This action is what we needed, we hope that this man knows he is dealing with the money of the people of South Africa” Cosatu deputy general secretary Solly Phetoe commented to Fin24.
Fedusa’s general secretary Dennis George said that the suspension of Moyane, “who is also widely seen as a close ally of former president Jacob Zuma and the notorious Gupta family” was long overdue. “It will pave the way for rebuilding SARS’s tarnished image in the eyes of the South African public and restoring it to its former glory as one of the most trusted institutions of democracy in the country.”
George gave the thumbs up to acting SARS commissioner Mark Kingon, who has worked at the revenue agency for 34 years as he has “many years of experience”.
Saftu wished Kingon well for his “formidable task” and called on him to rehire numerous senior executives who were dismissed or resigned since Moyane was appointed commissioner in September 2014.
The federation said that it would continue to demand that government change its tax policy to shift the burden “from the poor to the rich” and reverse the looming increase to a 15% Value Added Tax (VAT) rate, which will become effective on April 1 2018.
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