Johannesburg, South Africa | AFP | South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday sacked the head of the country’s tax collection agency, an ally of scandal-tainted former leader Jacob Zuma, said the presidency.
The president dismissed Tom Moyane after a judiciary inquiry recommended his immediate removal “to forestall any further deterioration of our tax administration system,” said a statement from his office.
Ramaphosa suspended the tax chief in March just a month after taking over from Zuma and ordered the probe into the South African Revenue Authority (SARS).
In a letter to Moyane, Ramaphosa said the investigation had painted “a deeply concerning picture of the current state of SARS and the reckless mismanagement which characterised your tenure”.
“Of further, and in many ways greater, concern is your refusal to meaningfully participate in the … (investigation) in order to assist with identifying the root causes of the systemic failures at SARS and ways in which to arrest these,” said Ramaphosa in the letter cited in the statement.
The tax service — crucial for raising funds for public services — was once among the country’s best run and among the most efficient state institutions.
But it became a battleground of political rivalries in recent years after Zuma filled it with acolytes.
Since 2014 when Zuma appointed Moyane to head it, the agency repeatedly failed to meet its tax collection targets.
In his report after the probe, retired Judge Robert Nugent said “the day Mr Moyane took office was a calamity for SARS. Almost immediately, and then continuously for the next 18 months, SARS was thrown into turmoil, with tragic consequences for the lives of many people, tragic consequences for the reputation of SARS, and tragic consequences for the country at large”.
Ramaphosa said it was evident that if the problems facing the agency were to be solved “it would be best to terminate” Moyane’s services.
The main opposition Democratic Alliance said over the three-and-a-half years he was in charge of the tax collection agency “Moyane managed to reduce the vital entity from being a world leader in tax collection to being a friend” of the ruling ANC’s state corruption project.