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GOVERNANCE

SARS

The tax collector has been at the centre of controversy every since Tom Moyane became commissioner.

President Cyril Ramaphosa promised in his State of the Nation Address that “[s]teps will be taken to stabilise and strengthen the South Africa Revenue Service (SARS).”

He undertook to appoint a Commission of Inquiry into Tax Administration and Governance to restore the credibility and strengthen the capacity of SARS.

UPDATES:

May 16, 2018: Ramaphosa refuses to pay Moyane’s legal costs

President Cyril Ramaphosa has refuses a request by suspended SA Revenue Service (Sars) boss Tom Moyane for the state to pay his legal bills. Moyane asked that the state cover his legal bills while he defends himself in a disciplinary inquiry.

He had written to Ramaphosa, who suspended him in March, giving him until midday yesterday to meet his demands or face him in court. Moyane reportedly wants Ramaphosa to agree to be called as a witness in his disciplinary and to ensure that the state covers his legal bills.

May 14, 2018: NPA reviews decision to prosecute Moyane

Corruption Watch says the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) told the organisation that it is reviewing its decision not to prosecute Tom Moyane.

It says this development came after Corruption Watch asked for a certificate to be issued confirming that the NPA was not going ahead with the prosecution, as it wanted to pursue a private criminal prosecution.

The suspended South African Reserve Service (SARS) commissioner is facing disciplinary charges.

May 4, 2018: Suspended SARS boss Tom Moyane to face disciplinary hearing ✅

The Presidency announces that it served suspended SARS Commissioner Tom Moyane with disciplinary charges.

The charges relate to alleged misconduct in violation of his duties and responsibilities in terms of the South African Revenue Service Act, Public Finance Management Act and SARS Code of Conduct.

The disciplinary inquiry relates to alleged leadership and organisational failures. Retired Constitutional Court Judge Kate O’Regan will preside over the disciplinary inquiry.

March 19, 2018: SARS boss Tom Moyane suspended 

Mark Kingon becomes the head of the SA Revenue Service in an acting capacity, after former Commissioner Tom Moyane is suspended.

In a late-night statement on March 19, the Presidency announces that Moyane had been suspended with “immediate effect” pending the institution of disciplinary proceedings.

“President Ramaphosa said [the suspension] was in the public interest to restore the credibility of SARS without delay,” Presidency spokesperson Khusela Diko says.

The move comes mere days after Jonas Makwakwa, chief officer for business and individual tax resigned with immediate effect.


Lifestyle audits

Ramaphosa said lifestyle audits will be conducted on all people who “occupy positions of responsibility”.

“That is something I believe we have to do, and this will be done starting with the executive of the country. The commissioner of police has also said that the high echelons of the police will also go through lifestyle audits,” he said.

UPDATES:

March 30, 2018: Ramaphosa flies economy class to Durban 

President Cyril Ramaphosa is spotted travelling to Durban in economy class on a Safair flight.

March 3, 2018: Ramaphosa uses controversial businessman’s private jet for official trip ❌

No lifestyle audits yet, but on March 3, Ramaphosa lands in Botswana for his first official visit with a private jet owned by the Moti Company because the presidential jet is once again in for repairs.

Moti is a mining and property company owned by Zunaid Moti. The Moti company is allegedly close to Zimbabwe’s new president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, who had allegedly helped facilitate a chrome deal with Moti’s company, Africa Chrome Fields.


Social grants

Due to poor leadership and administration, the uninterrupted distribution of social grants to roughly 17 million South Africans has been under threat and the Constitutional Court has had to step in to provide the Department of Social Development with directions on how to manage the migration of the distribution system to a new service provider.

Former Minister of Social Development Bathabile Dlamini came under heavy fire for failing to manage the system.

1. Ramaphosa promised that urgent steps would be taken to comply with all the directions of the Constitutional Court in this regard. He vowed to personally make sure that no one in government undermines implementation deadlines set by the court.

2. A permanent public sector-led hybrid model will be finalised, which will allow a set of public and private sector service providers to offer grant beneficiaries maximum choice, access and convenience.

3. A Social Sector Summit will be convened within the first year to seek to improve the interface between the state and civil society, and address the challenges that NGOs and CBOs face.

UPDATES:

March 24, 2018: Court orders CPS to pay R316m back to Sassa 

The North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria orders CPS to pay back R316m, with interest, to Sassa.

This relates to money Sassa paid to CPS in 2014 when it claimed it enrolled more grant recipients and beneficiaries than it had been contracted to provide services for.

The Constitutional Court also allows Cash Paymaster Services’ (CPS) contract with Sassa to be extended by another six months to continue distributing social grants to beneficiaries who receive their grants in cash.

March 13, 2018: Sassa admits: No feasible contingency plan for cash payments of social grants 

The South African Social Security Agency’s (Sassa’s) contingency plan to manage the cash component of the social grants system, were the Constitutional Court to deny an extension of the invalid CPS contract, was only work in progress, its acting CEO has said.

The Constitutional Court last week demanded that both Sassa and the South African Post Office (SAPO) clarify the contingency measures, put in place to deal with the payment of social grants.

This, after acting Sassa CEO Pearl Bhengu told journalists last Thursday of a potential plan to assist with cash payments, were the court to rule against extending the contract of current invalid service provider CPS.

February 26, 2018: New minister to administer grants 

Bathabile Dlamini is replaced as Minister of Social Development in charge of the social grants scheme by Susan Shabangu, former minister of women in the presidency.


Cabinet

One of the first promises Ramaphosa made was to “reconfigure the executive arm of government”. Under former president Jacob Zuma, the Cabinet swelled to 72 ministers. Ramaphosa undertook to review the configuration, number and size of national government departments.

UPDATES:

February 26, 2018: Cabinet reshuffle 

Ramaphosa announces a Cabinet reshuffle with major changes to key portfolios.

Controversial Mpumalanga premier David Mabuza is announced as deputy president. Ministers who get the axe include Mosebenzi Zwane, Fikile Mbalula, David Mahlobo, Faith Muthambi, Lynne Browne and Des van Rooyen. Former finance minister Malusi Gigaba is moved to the ministry of home affairs, a portfolio he previously held.

With the announcement of the reshuffle Ramaphosa says the reconfiguration of the number and size of national departments will only happen at a later date after a review process is completed. ❌

Ramaphosa vowed to visit every national department during the first few months of his presidency to engage with senior leadership to ensure that the work of the government was effectively aligned. He will also meet with provincial and local government leaders to ensure that government priorities are aligned.

This will probably take some time, but we are not aware of him visiting any departments yet.