Report: Sars boss’ messages to staff paint picture of ‘extreme crisis’
According to a report, internal messages appear to reveal Moyane is 'a man on a mission’ but it isn't always clear what that mission is.
Sars commissioner Tom Moyane. Picture: Gallo Images
Internal communications sent out by SA Revenue Service (Sars) commissioner Tom Moyane to the tax agency’s 14 000 employees reportedly “paint a picture of a revenue service in extreme crisis.”
According to a News24 report, the “newsflashes”, which include more than 20 emails and press releases sent out by Moyane, appear to be an attempt to “soothe” employees and keep them positive amid scandals and the suspension of senior employees, while the majority of the messages reveal efforts at defending Sars against negative media reports surrounding the so-called rogue unit.
Following the controversy over allegations of an illegal spy unit sanctioned by its former commissioner, the now finance minister Pravin Gordhan, a strained relationship between the minister and the taxman has intensified.
Last month Moyane requested that President Jacob Zuma appoint a third party to mediate the differences between him Gordhan after claiming the minister had unduly interfered in operations at the revenue service and undermined and treated him like a child.
Last week Sars released a statement alleging that Judge Dennis Davis, who chairs the Davis Tax Committee, is part of a “systematically orchestrated narrative that primarily seeks to decimate and undermine the leadership of SARS in order to engulf SARS into a crisis of lack of public confidence and illegitimacy”.
News24 reports that the internal messages appear to reveal Moyane as “a man on a mission, but unfortunately it isn’t always clear what that mission is.”
Amid the reports of the “rogue unit” and the suspension of former Sars deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay and Peter Richter – the group executive of strategic planning and risk – in his year-end message in December 2014 Moyane reportedly told his staff he understood what had happened at the institution and that it was unsettling for employees.
“I want to remind you that when I joined SARS I clearly stated that I will not allow any culture of flouting laws and rogue activities under my watch.
“My sole purpose is to determine the veracity of the numerous disturbing allegations that have been raised in a number of media articles and to establish if indeed there was a rogue intelligence unit operating outside of the SARS mandate,” Moyane is quoted as saying in his email.
The tax chief was also apparently not happy with Pillay’s comments in the media about his suspension.
The media articles Moyane is referring to were published by the Sunday Times, which withdrew almost all of them last year and apologised for publishing them on a full page. The paper also apologised on its front page to Gordhan – for not giving him right of reply – in December 2015.
“Let me reiterate that the organisation takes great exception to officials using the media to fight internal disciplinary processes,” Moyane said in one of his emails sent out in 2015.