Black Management Forum questions 'lack of transparency' in appointing new SARS commissioner

Sars acting head Mark Kingon (GETTY)
Sars acting head Mark Kingon (GETTY)

The Black Management Forum (BMF) has said that it is concerned with what it deems to be a 'rushed and guarded' recruitment process in appointing a new commissioner for the SA Revenue Service.

Last week Finance Minister Tito Mboweni reappointed Mark Kingon as the acting head of the revenue service until June 11, or until President Cyril Ramaphosa appoints a permanent commissioner.

While the minister of finance has the power to appoint acting SARS commissioners, the president must name the permanent head of the revenue collection agency.

Early in February this year, it was announced that Mboweni appointed a panel to interview and recommend to Ramaphosa a shortlist of candidates for the position of SARS commissioner.

In the view of the BMF, extending Kingon's acting capacity comes "at the expense of the many likely deserving black professional candidates".

"It remains unclear to the general public as to who the shortlisted candidates are and when and where interviews will be or are taking place," the BMF said in a statement.

"It is worrying that this is the case because the SARS Commission of Inquiry chair, retired Judge Robert Nugent, in his interim report of the inquiry into SARS, urged President Cyril Ramaphosa to appoint a new commissioner urgently and that he should, however, follow 'an open and transparent process that is subject to critical appraisal, but without compromising the urgency of the appointment'."

The BMF refers to a report in a Sunday Times which named what it claims to be the shortlist for the position of SARS commissioner. According to the BMF, if this was indeed the shortlist, it is disappointed that there were no female candidates on the list.

It also expressed disappointment with what appears to be a lack of youth on the reported shortlist.

"As BMF we are very perplexed that government is steadfast in appointing professionals close to retirement age when there is an opportunity to bring in the fresh blood of black professionals, who have the energy, the necessary experience and qualifications to manage these institutions," the BMF said.

"What South Africans deserve is consistently transparent, fair and gender-sensitive recruitment and appointment processes."

The process of finding a new commissioner for SARS kicked off with an advertisement in the Sunday Times in mid-December last year. 

The ad stated that the ideal candidate would have to behave honestly and with integrity and be able to leverage diversity.

The closing date for applications was January 18.

Former SARS commissioner Tom Moyane was removed by President Cyril Ramaphosa in November last year, following a recommendation contained in the interim Nugent report.

Fin24's inquiry about progress with the process of appointing the new SARS commissioner was referred to Treasury by the Presidency. Treasury has not responded to Fin24 with an update on the matter.

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