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Should we be surprised at how Moyane stuffed up SARS?

Bain and Co, the consulting firm that Tom Moyane brought in to help with his ‘restructuring plans’ charged the country about R204 million for their work.

How did that work out?

The inquiry into Moyane’s tenure at SARS and how he damaged the taxman has uncovered a few interesting things.

EWN reports that Randall Carolissen, a former group executive for the tax, customs and excise institute, testified that part of the problem was how Moyane split up his department.

Essentially Carolissen’s department used to do three things, analysis, data analytics and forecasting.

However under Moyane these three tasks were split up – with analysis going to the finance unit, and data analytics going to strategy.

This created a silo effect where they didn’t communicate as well with each other, which reduced SARS’ efficiency.

According to IOL compliance officer Thabelo Malovhele testified that under the new organogram, compliance actually disappeared.

“As we speak, there is no compliance programme in place. Where it was moved there was no competency to do it.”

Now it is a bit difficult to collect taxes if people aren’t filing tax returns, and thus you don’t know about them, so revenue started to drop.

The Daily Maverick‘s report goes a bit further into how Moyane’s reign of error crippled the taxman.

Essentially in order to try and make his department look better, Moyane took to doing things like delaying VAT refunds for just anybody who wasn’t a Gupta.

Now when the taxman does this what ends up happening is businesses start fudging their VAT so that they don’t declare a refund, they just don’t get charged as much the next month.

So it is no surprise that this didn’t work, and SARS still under collected over the past two years.

My Take

Moyane has a history with consultants. Before he went to head the taxman, Moyane was our country’s prison boss.

In 2011 the Sowetan reported that he told parliament that the Department of Correctional Services gave an IT consulting firm R64 million, and yet the new IT system didn’t work.

In fact they were struggling to send emails. IOL reports that in 2013 Moyane was forced into retirement.

In 2017 News24 reported that a fencing tender from Moyane’s term as our prisons boss, was referred to the SIU.

So, here is the thing, you don’t force someone into retirement at the age of 60 if they’re actually good.

Jacob Zuma appointed Moyane as the SARS boss in 2014, just a year after he was essentially sacked, so are we surprised that he didn’t work out so well?

And this is a key issue that is still haunting out government. Take Bathabile Dlamini, as minister of social development she didn’t do her job. Several court orders later and she still wasn’t doing her job – when she was redeployed to being minister of women.

I mean don’t we all wish we could essentially refuse to perform the basic functions of our jobs, as ordered by the courts no less, and still get a cushy redeployment afterwards?

The ANC operates pretty much like the Catholic Church in its child abuse scandal. With that scandal the issue wasn’t that there were pedophile priests, the issue was that the bishops in order to keep the scandals quiet moved the priests from church to church, allowing them to continue abusing kids and just moving them whenever the locals got wise.

It is not good enough to just condemn, we must learn.

With the ANC, we see the same basic pattern – they don’t get rid of the bad leaders, they redeploy them so that those ministers can do even more damage somewhere else.

Beyond corruption and incompetence in individual cases what we’ve got in the ANC is a culture the breeds these problems. Beyond Moyane we’ve got to look to the future, and what we can learn from the errors that led to Moyane.

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