South Africa - Pretoria - 28 March 2019. Finance Minister Tito Mboweni announces the newly appointed SARS Commissioner Edward Kieswetter. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)
JOHANNESBURG – Newly appointed SA Revenue Service (Sars) commissioner Edward Kieswetter says his biggest mission will be to collect all revenue that is due to the state to bump up the fiscus.

Kieswetter said that while restoring public confidence in the revenue services and among employees was paramount, his biggest focus would be in the tax collection of outstanding taxes.

“What is also important is to immediately address the deficit in revenue and ensure that we accelerate the work (acting commissioner) Mark (Kingon) and his team have already done, so that we give the minister a level of confidence that we will leave no stone untouched to collect every cent due to the fiscus,” Kieswetter said.

“Those who thought they had a tax holiday in the last few years must know their holiday has ended.”

Kieswetter was appointed to the position on Wednesday to replace disgraced erstwhile Sars boss Tom Moyane, who left behind a broken tax collection agency and a multibillion-rand revenue shortfall.

Tertius Troost, tax manager at Mazars, said Kieswetter’s institutional memory and political backing would play an important role in turning Sars around.

“In order for Sars to evolve and achieve the massive tasks that lie ahead, it is also crucial to have someone at the head who can rally the support of the appropriate powers in government,” Troost said.

“Being able to navigate the political landscape without endangering their own integrity or the integrity of Sars is therefore vital.”

Kieswetter was introduced to Sars staff by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni yesterday, and is expected to assume his position in May.

The financial sector joined in welcoming him to the position, with the Banking Association South Africa (Basa) saying: “The restoration of an efficient revenue collection service should count in South Africa’s favour when considering its fiscal health, ability to service its debts and potential economic growth.”

Mboweni also threw down the gauntlet on the SA National Roads Agency’s watershed decision to shun the process of pursuing e-toll debt.

He said it was a bad decision and “not helpful in the bond market it’s undermining what we said in the Budget that we support user-pay principle. They must reverse that decision immediately.”