The interim report into tax Sars recommends that Ramaphosa ensures that suspended commissioner Tom Moyane is removed from the post. Photographs:Phando Jikelo/African News Agency/ANA

JOHANNESBURG - The interim report of the commission of inquiry into tax administration and governance by the South African Revenue Service (Sars) recommends that President Cyril Ramaphosa ensures that suspended commissioner Tom Moyane is removed from the post without delay and a replacement appointed.

The report by retired Judge Robert Nugent was handed to Ramaphosa on Tuesday and he is applying his mind to its contents, his office said.

It was released by the presidency.

"The president is applying his mind to the contents of the interim report and the recommendations made by Commission Chair Justice Robert Nugent. As part of this process, President Ramaphosa has furnished a copy of the interim report to suspended Sars commissioner Tom Moyane," the presidency said.

"The president has invited Mr Moyane to make any submissions he may have on the interim report or its recommendations."

Former SARS Commissioner Tom Moyane listens during his hearing in Sandton Johannesburg. Photo Simphiwe Mbokazi African News Agency/ANA 2

The commission found that Sars had suffered a steady loss of efficiency, trusted staff and international standing since Moyane was appointed four years ago.

"What is clear to the commission is that Sars reeks of intrigue, fear, distrust and suspicion. We have heard of it repeatedly in evidence, and we have encountered it ourselves. 

The trajectory of modernisation, that had been in the making for a decade, was summarily stopped when the current Commissioner, Mr Tom Moyane took office on 27 September 2014, and the systems are degenerating as technology advances," the report reads.

The commission stated that the restructuring process undertaken during his tenure shifted 200 managerial employees from their jobs, "many of whom ended up in positions that had no content or even job description, and in exasperation many skilled professionals have left". 

It said measures to combat crime had suffered and the illicit trade in tobacco, among others, had been left to flourish.

"Relations between the commissioner of Sars and other state institutions – the Treasury, the Auditor-General, the Davis Tax Committee, the Financial Intelligence Centre – are icy, if there is any relationship at all, and Sars is isolated from its former high status amongst international bodies. 

"Meanwhile, the reputation of Sars continues to be tarnished by reports in the media, many of which are true, to which the only response by Mr Moyane has been to attempt to intimidate the media by spurious litigation," it added.

The commission said it was of the view that Moyane had no intention of cooperating with the commission and accounting for events during his tenure.

"That is not the character of a person fit to lead a vital public institution," it commented.

- African News Agency (ANA)