Disciplinary for Sars chief Tom Moyane. File picture: ANA
JOHANNESBURG - The net seemed to be closing in on suspended SA Revenue Service (Sars) commissioner Tom Moyane this week, with President Cyril Ramaphosa making a number of key announcements affecting the embattled commissioner.

The president appointed Azhar Bham SC as the new presiding officer in Moyane’s disciplinary inquiry, after removing former Constitutional Court justice Kate O’Regan.
Moyane’s attorney Eric Mabuza was opposed to O’Regan’s appointment due to her long-standing position on the board of Corruption Watch.
While Moyane and his legal team were still mulling over the Bham’s appointment, Ramaphosa announced a commission of inquiry into tax administration and governance at Sars, to be chaired by retired justice Robert Nugent.

The commission’s terms of reference would look into allegations of unauthorised payment of bonuses to top executives and withholding of refunds owed to ordinary taxpayers; the adherence to tax administrative processes, and the integrity of supply-chain management and tendering processes.

It would also shine a spotlight on the adequacy and legality of steps that Sars took to address revenue shortfalls in the last two years.

Under Moyane’s watch public confidence in Sars decreased and resulted in a R48 billion revenue shortfall.

Ramaphosa, who has been engaged in a legal wrangle with Moyane, said the commission would need to establish the veracity of reports in the public domain on administrative and leadership challenges at Sars that potentially undermined taxpayer morality.

Moyane was suspended in March for, among other things, the controversial manner in which he handled the matter involving Jonas Makwakwa, who resigned under a cloud as chief officer for business and individual tax in March.

Makwakwa was accused of money laundering after the Financial Intelligence Centre flagged cash deposits of R1.7 million made into his personal bank account.
Meanwhile, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan announced key appointments in troubled parastatals including power utility Eskom, freight rail and logistics company Transnet and arms manufacturer Denel.

Business executive Phakamani Hadebe was appointed as the new group chief executive for Eskom. Gordhan also announced the appointment of a new board for SA Express Airways, which has been grounded as a result of state capture.

Tryphosa Ramano is chairperson of the board, which includes Ronald Lamola, Thulani Kgomo, Thandiwe January-McLean, Kugan Thaver, Bongisiwe Mpondo, Hlengiwe Thandeka Makhathini, Thabi Leoka and Ahmed Bassa. The term of the former board expired on May 21.
Gordhan revealed that the embattled carrier paid more than R5.7 million to the Gupta-linked Trillian Capital without following due process.

On Transnet, Popo Molefe is chairperson of the new board which includes Mpho Emily Letlape, Louis von Zeuner, Ursula Nobulali Fikelepi, Dimakatso Catherine Matshoga, Ramasela Joyce Ganda,  Prof Edward Christian Kieswetter, Aluwani Percy Ramabulana,  Dr. Fholisani Sydney Mufamadi, Vivien McMenamin, Adv. Oupa Motaung and Gratitude Ramphaka.

On Denel, Cabinet also approved the appointment of board directors who include Monhla Hlahla as chairperson, Nonzukiso Zukie Siyotula, Mandla Martin Mnisi, Nhlanhla Rigney Kunene, Prof. Tshilidzi Marwala, Retired Lieutenant General Temba Templeton Matanzima, Dr Gloria Serobe, Talib Sadik, Susan Rabkin, Dr Sibusiso Sibisi, Thamsanqa Magazi, Dr. Hannelie Nel, General Siphiwe Nyanda and Kabelo Lehloenya.

The new boards have been mandated to immediately reinstill an ethical culture at the state owned enterprises (SOEs); ensure good governance, accountability and transparency is restored; maintain the necessary independence from management for effective oversight, whilst simultaneously having a thorough knowledge of the activities at the company.
They are also mandated to investigate any allegations of corruption and ensure that, where there is evidence of malfeasance act decisively to hold the relevant individuals to account and recover any funds that were misappropriated.

They would also review the financial statuses and ensure financial sustainability of the SOEs; root out corruption and ensure they fulfil their economic and developmental mandates.