Sars commissioner Tom Moyane. File photo: ANA
PARLIAMENT - Parliament's standing committee on finance on Tuesday welcomed the suspension of South African Revenue Service (Sars) commissioner Tom Moyane, saying a disciplinary inquiry against him should be "fair, swift and decisive".

"The committee feels strongly that in view of the role Sars plays, it is very important that senior officials are not just beyond reproach, but are seen to be beyond approach. This is especially important in view of the need to achieve revenue targets, and tackle declining compliance and tax morality," the committee said in a statement.

The committee has been extremely critical of Moyane's handling of the controversy surrounding former Sars chief officer for business and individual tax, Jonas Makwakwa, who was flagged by the Financial Intelligence Centre after several "suspicious" deposits were made into his personal bank account and that of Sars staffer Kelly-Ann Elskie.

Makwakwa resigned last week following fresh allegations that he was linked to a company that had been granted a contract to collect outstanding taxes for the revenue service.

The finance committee had been bumping heads with Moyane over documents it had demanded surrounding an investigation and a disciplinary inquiry into Makwakwa he had refused to hand over, citing the confidentiality of taxpayers' information.

"Again, we believe that there is a need for tax legislation to be amended to ensure greater accountability of Sars to parliament while maintaining the confidentiality of taxpayers," said committee chairman Yunus Carrim.

"We have mandated Parliament’s Legal Services Unit to prepare proposals in this regard, including through doing research on how parliaments in other open democracies hold their revenue collection bodies to account."

Moyane was placed on suspension by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday.

In a letter from Moyane to Rampahosa, published on various media sites, Moyane gave the president an ultimatum. In the letter, Moyane said Ramaphosa's decision to suspend him without giving him an "opportunity to be heard", was unlawful and unconstitutional.

Moyane has given Ramaphosa until 21h30 on Tuesday to give an undertaking that he will neither be suspended or dismissed without giving him a fair hearing.

African News Agency/ANA