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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 23, 2018: SARS to investigate 9 cases of illicit financial flows ✅

Acting SARS commissioner Mark Kingon tells Parliament nine cases of illicit financial flows from South Africa have been earmarked for investigation, involving a total of more than R9 billion.

Illicit financial flows are defined as the illegal movement of funds from one country to another.

The money can come from criminal activities such as drug trafficking, fraud or theft, or can refer to legally earned money that’s being transferred in breach of exchange control regulations.

May 23, 2018: Ramaphosa names retired Judge Robert Nugent to head SARS inquiry

President Cyril Ramaphosa announces that former Judge Robert ‘Bob’ Nugent will chair a commission of inquiry into the country’s tax administration.

Nugent is a retired judge of the Supreme Court of Appeal. Former President Jacob Zuma appointed him to act as a judge of the Constitutional Court for the period November 3-30 2015. Nugent will be assisted by Michael Katz, Mabongi Masilo and Vuyo Kahla.

May 22, 2018: Ramaphosa appoints new presiding officer for Tom Moyane disciplinary inquiry

President Cyril Ramaphosa appoints advocate Azhar Bham, SC, as the presiding officer into the disciplinary charges against suspended SARS commissioner Tom Moyane.

Ramaphosa had initially appointed Judge Kate O’Regan to do the inquiry.

“This follows an objection raised by Mr Moyane regarding the links between Judge Kate O’Regan, who had initially been appointed as the presiding officer, and Corruption Watch, an NGO of which she is a board member,” the Presidency says.

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.


Provinces

May 11, 2018: North West put under administration

National government takes over the administration of North West, while the department of cooperative governance and traditional affairs takes over two-thirds of the province’s municipalities.

President Cyril Ramaphosa reportedly makes the decision to take over the administration of the province after receiving a report by the interministerial committee, appointed to look into the province’s problems. The team was led by minister in the presidency Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

April 26, 2018: North West health department put under administration

Cabinet places the North West health department under the administration of the national government, in the wake of protests ravaging the province.

“Cabinet deliberated on the unstable situation that has unfolded in the North West, which has affected a number of services, particularly health services,” Communications Minister Nomvula Mokoyane says following a Cabinet meeting.

March 3, 2018: Hawks raid North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo’s office

The Hawks raid the offices of North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo looking for documents related to the multimillion-rand IT contract with Nepo Data Dynamics.

“We are currently at the offices of the premier. We are investigating a case of alleged corruption and fraud within the premier’s office,” Hawks regional spokesperson Captain Tlangelani Rikhotso tells News24.


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:

May 22, 2018: Sassa cancels tender process to find CPS replacement

Minister of Social Development Susan Shabangu says Sassa has cancelled the tender process to find a replacement for Cash Paymaster Services.

Sassa’s invalid contract with CPS was extended for six months by the Constitutional Court in March, so that CPS could continue to operate the cash portion of the grants system until a replacement was found.

May 22, 2018: Parliament grills Sassa for alleged misuse of funds

The Social Security Agency (Sassa) is grilled on whether millions spent on educational events in KwaZulu-Natal in December were, in fact, part of campaigning ahead of the ANC’s national conference.

Former acting CEO Pearl Bengu, who returned to her post as the regional manager for KZN, is absent from proceedings.

Officials are left floundering to answer whether due process was followed in her approval of R20 million for these events.

May 18, 2018: Banks in talks with Sassa over social grants payments

Banks are in talks with Sassa to find a solution for the distribution of grants, the Banking Association of South Africa says.

The organisation says it has been “working tirelessly with Sassa since 2017” to find the best method of paying social grants.

May 3, 2018: Treasury slams Net1 charges for Sassa as too high

Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene recommends that the Net1’s Cash Paymaster Services unit be paid a monthly R51 per welfare recipient at a cash pay point compared with the company’s request for R66.70.

Sassa requested the extension after it failed to make adequate arrangements for a replacement for Net1. A tender to do so has been cancelled because of complaints about the omission of information by Sassa and will be reissued, Social Development Minister Susan Shabangu said in court documents last week.

South Africa is seeking a new distributor of social security payments that cost the government more than R150bn annually.

April 28, 2018: Sassa gets new acting CEO

Sassa appoints Abraham Mahlangu as acting CEO, replacing Pearl Bhengu who took up the position in July 2017.

“Mahlangu has been appointed on an interim basis, following Bhengu’s departure who had requested to be sent back to her provincial post in KwaZulu-Natal,” says spokesperson Paseka Letsatsi.

Mahlangu is a former Chief Information Officer at Sassa, and will become the agency’s fourth CEO  in less than two years. Bhengu had replaced Thokozani Magwaza, who resigned from the job, after a fallout with former Social Development minister Bathabile Dlamini, over a controversial social grants payment contract.

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.


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.


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.