Integrity and governance at the South African Revenue Services (SARS) failed on a “massive scale” according to the 200-page final Nugent Commission of Inquiry report, handed over to President Cyril Ramaphosa on Friday.
Moyane was removed by Ramaphosa on November 1, following a recommendation by the Nugent interim report. Moyane lost a high court bid this week to challenge his dismissal and plans to appeal the ruling in the Constitutional Court.
“What has become clear is that what occurred at SARS was inevitable the moment Mr Moyane set foot in SARS. He arrived without integrity and then dismantled the elements of governance one by one. This was more than mere mismanagement. It was seizing control of SARS as if it was his to have,” the report reads.
A presidency statement said Ramaphosa is “studying the report and will apply his mind to its detailed recommendations”.
The president thanked retired Judge Robert Nugent, professor Michael Katz, adv. Mabongi Masilo and Vuyo Kahla “for the diligence and commitment with which they undertook this important task”.
Ramaphosa appointed the commission of inquiry in May to investigate administration and governance at the revenue agency.
Fin24 took a look at 7 of the key recommendations made by the commission:
Change appointment process of a new commissioner
The SARS Act should be amended to provide for the appointment of a commissioner by the president, after consultation with the minister of finance.
The president should call for nominations or select candidates. They should then be subjected to a private interview by an apolitical panel of four or more members selected by the president.
The panel should make non-prescriptive recommendations to the president and their selection should be made public after the appointment.
Appoint deputy SARS commissioner
A deputy SARS commissioner should be appointed to “safeguard against the unfettered exercise of power by the commissioner”. This position should be appointed in a similar process to the commissioner, so the person cannot be unilaterally dismissed by the commissioner.
Appoint an inspector general to SARS
The appointment should be made by the minister of finance, in an open and transparent process. The inspector general should conduct inquiries on a routine basis at all levels of SARS.
Prosecute people linked to Bain & Co contracts
The National Director of Public Prosecutions should consider prosecutions in connection with the award of the Bain & Co. contracts. The restructuring project by the advisory firm was a key plan by Moyane, according to testimony at the Nugent Commission.
Appoint new IT chief
Following the confusing and sometimes incoherent testimony by SARS chief officer for digital and IT Mmamathe Makhekhe-Mokhuane, the Nugent report recommended that SARS should recruit “one or more suitably qualified persons from within or outside SARS to be placed in a position to take control of SARS’ information technology and to develop and implement a strategy to renew development of information technology”.
Recover legal costs from Moyane
SARS should take steps to recover legal costs and expenses incurred by Moyane. This relates to litigation undertaken by SARS against the Auditor General challenging a finding over bonus pay to senior management, legal action against the Mail & Guardian over a story published, and former SARS spokesperson Adrian Lackay in a defamation suit, later withdrawn.
SARS should re-establish capacity to monitor and investigate the illicit trades, in particular the trade in cigarettes. The Large Business Centre should also be re-established.