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Nugent commission says Cyril must sack Moyane – everything you need to know

Judge Robert Nugent has recommended that President Cyril Ramaphosa sack suspended SARS head Tom Moyane in a preliminary finding.

“In the unanimous view of the Commissioner and those appointed to assist him, that has been brought about by at least reckless mismanagement of SARS under the tenure of Mr Moyane and it ought not to be permitted to continue,” Nugent’s preliminary report found.

According to the report Nugent’s inquiry has found the following so far:

  • SARS currently is a toxic workplace that reeks of intrigue, fear,distrust and suspicion.”
  • Moyane’s arrival put a stop to SARS’ modernisation in 2014, and their systems have been degenerating as technology advanced.
  • Moyane’s tenure has restructured SARS so that it is fragmented so that it is less effective, and delinquent taxpayers can more easily get away with it.
  • The Large Business Centre “has been eviscerated to the detriment of revenue collection.”
  • About 200 managerial employees were displaced from their jobs, many of whom ended up in jobs without content or even job descriptions. Others ended up in posts where there were plenty of people and their skills weren’t needed.
  • Moyane’s reign compromised measures to counter criminality with regards to commodities like tobacco.
  • Moyane’s reign has resulted in in a situation where relations, if they even exist, between SARS and other state institutions suck.
  • Nugent specifically lists bad relations between SARS and the Treasury, Auditor-General, the Davis Tax Committee, and the Financial Intelligence centre.
  • SARS has lost its high status amongst international bodies.
  • SARS reputation is also being tarnished by reports in the media, most of which are true, and Moyane’s only response has been to try and use the spurious litigation to shut them up.

According to the report, sacking Moyane is only the first step to saving the taxman, more still needs to be done.

According to Times Select, Ramaphosa’s office has given Moyane until next week Friday to give the president his response.

EWN reports that Moyane’s legal team has slammed the inquiry as being unlawful and biased.

Tom Moyane’s lawyer, Eric Mabuza said that by recommending that Moyane be sacked Nugent has undermined the president and the separate disciplinary process that Moyane was already being subjected to.

“If the president wanted Mr Nugent to deal with employment issues, he would have said so in his terms of reference,” Mabuza said.

Mabuza also mentioned how Moyane’s legal team were worried about how having both processes going at the same time represented “double jeopardy”.

My Take

Mabuza’s lawyer is doing his job, and admirable job it is too. Somebody has to argue the inarguable otherwise our justice system doesn’t work and the rule of law just becomes the rule of the mob.

That said, I’m looking at the executive summary, which is where the important stuff should be, and you know what I’m not seeing Nugent accuse Moyane of? Corruption.

Those issues Nugent has raised are all about the results of Moyane’s management.

At the end of the day the whole issue with corruption is that it motivates bad management of resources. A corrupt tender for example by necessity results in whatever the tender supplied being compromised or overpriced – the money for the bribe has to come from somewhere and the person who has won the tender wants to make a profit.

That is not the only way mismanagement can happen.

If you have a complete nitwit in charge it has the same impact. The man can be doing his level best, but that doesn’t help if he is fundamentally incapable of doing the job.

Take the point on SARS’ systems degrading as technology advances – e-Filing requires Internet Explorer to read communications. This has been replaced by Microsoft Edge. It requires a web browser that is now largely defunct.

It doesn’t a rocket scientist to figure out that your online communications should support most popular modern browsers, and I don’t think Microsoft bribed Moyane to keep their old web browser alive, I think Moyane’s just an idiot.

And heading SARS is too important a job to leave to an idiot, even aside from any disciplinary issues.

  • Pictures of Moyane and Ramaphosa both courtesy of GCIS on Flickr.
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