Image: Jonas Makwakwa
JOHANNESBURG - Newsworthy events this week included the resignation of beleaguered Jonas Makwakwa as the second in charge at the SA Revenue Service (Sars).

Sars commissioner Tom Moyane during a media briefing on Wednesday that Makwakwa had resigned as chief officer for business and individual tax citing personal reasons.
He resigns under a dark cloud after he was reinstated by Moyane in 2017 despite him facing a tax-evasion investigation and serious allegations of suspicious deposits into his personal account.

However, the tables were turned on Friday as daggers were drawn for Moyane, following a news report that he forced an illegal VAT payment of R70 million to the Guptas, embattled former president Jacob Zuma’s dodgy friends. 

SARS commissioner Tom Moyane. FILE PHOTO: ANA

However, Sars seemed to close ranks and rallied behind Moyane, dismissing the allegations against him as malicious, disingenuous and part of the “well-orchestrated agenda” to discredit him. 

The revenue service characterised the agenda against Moyane as including a narrative hinging on assumption he was corrupt, a Gupta lackey and must be fired from his cushy job. 

Another notable event was the South African Reserve Bank announcing that the VBS Mutual Bank, which shot to prominence in 2016 when it lent Zuma  R7.8 million to reimburse the state for the non-security upgrades at his sprawling Nkandla homestead, would be placed under curatorship.

This after the central bank raised concerns of a liquidity crisis at the black-owned financial institution. The National Treasury had issued instructions to municipalities not to make withdrawals from the black-owned financial institution. However, the municipalities went ahead and drew over R1 billion from the bank, whose total assets were R1bn according to its 2016 annual report. 

On other news, Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Zweli Mkhize announced that a whopping R6 billion has been set aside to deal with the drought scourge, which he declared a national state of disaster in terms of Section 27 of the Disaster Management Act. The decision was subsequently published in the Government Gazette.

The National Energy Regulator of South Africa also thrust itself onto the news agenda this week when it proposed a 6.84percent increase for municipalities as they prepare to submit their applications.

The regulator said municipalities applying for an increase higher than the guideline should justify their increase to Nersa. An approval will be based on, among others, a detailed plan on the additional funds requested. In December the regulator approved Eskom’s allowable revenue of R190.34bn for the 2018/19 financial year against the utility’s request for R219.514bn.