File image: Former Sars Commissioner, Tom Moyane. IOL.

CAPE TOWN - Tom Moyane’s suspension has been met with cheers and celebration from the tax and corruption watch community. 

Following President Cyril Ramaphosa's decision to suspend Moyane with immediate effect, the tax industry has been left exuberant with key leaders expressing their rejoice.

Executive Director of Corruption Watch, David Lewis, says the body is delighted by Moyane's suspension.

"We have been involved in the Moyane-Makwaka matter since it existed and Moyane broke the law on several accounts. We are definitely happy that Presidency has acted and that Moyane is facing suspension", said Lewis.

On the new appointment of Acting Sars Commissioner, Lewis says that Kingon is very experienced and he has no reason to doubt Kingon's leadership.

With Kingon's appointment being of an acting capacity, Lewis says that in order to Sars to be turned around effectively, there will have to be a permanent appointment.

"In order for Sars to be turned around, government will have to appoint a permanent commissioner who will then have weight in decision-making", he said.

Moyane's opponent in the R30.4 billlion revenue shortfall battle, Pravin Gorhan, refused to comment when contacted by Business Report. Gordhan has been cited in earlier reports for blaming Moyane for the revenue service's deterioration.

Gorhan blamed the revenue shortfall for Sars' poor performance. To great displeasure, Moyane reacted last month and expressed his distaste.

"In fact, such utterances by a person as senior as the minister of finance poses serious challenges to the overall credibility and, hence, effectiveness of Sars as an institution", said Moyane.

According to the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse Chief Operating Officer, Ben Theron says that he hopes Moyane's suspension will lead to dismissal.

"OUTA hopes that this suspension will lead to dismissal so that this critical position can be filled by someone of integrity, moral standing and have the interest of South Africa at heart", said Theron.

"We need to rebuild SARS to the respected position it held before his appointment. This will reverse the current lack of trust and improve tax compliance. The cement of South Africa’s economic foundation is taxes. SARS is therefore a critical component to our economic success as a nation", he added.

Similar to Corruption Watch, OUTA hopes that Kingon will be able to hold the fort in the interim, pending a permanent appointment.

When asked whether Kingon will have a hard time turning Sars around, Theron said that certain individuals would have to be removed.

"Only then, can he address the low morale that has permeated the organisation. There are many criminal cases that need to be revisited and by doing this and bringing the perpetrators to book, we believe that millions can be added to the fiscus", said Theron.

Theron says that sadly, Kingon does not have big shoes to fill.

"The suspended Commissioner focused on other activities rather than maintaining the organisation’s once world renowned reputation," Theron said.

Investigative journalist, Jacques Pauw told the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) today that Moyane's suspension was not a surprise. Pauw said that the suspended commissioner was on Ramaphosa's hit list.

Pauw further pointed out Moyane's lack of previous tax experience and labeled Moyane a "Zuma loyalist".

"Moyane had to go and he had to go quickly", said Pauw.

However, the Standing Committee of Finance said in a statement that they welcome Moyane's suspension.

The Chairperson of the committee, Yunus Carrim said: “We need to learn lessons from the performance of Sars over the past few years and consider whether it is necessary to amend legislation, regulations or policies to improve the independence and functioning of Sars".

The committee calls for the amendment of the tax legislation in order to achieve greater accountability.

Carrim said that despite Kingon's appointment as Acting Commissioner, the committee will pursue the same issues that were addressed with Moyane.

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