Minister Gigaba must address Makwakwa’s continued presence at SARS

Issued by Alf Lees MP – DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Finance
05 Dec 2017 in News

Today, SARS confirmed to Parliament’s Standing Committee on Finance (SCOF) that Mr Jonas Makwakwa had his suspension lifted as from the 1st of November 2017. SARS also admitted that the suspension was lifted despite the fact that Makwakwa was, and still is, being investigated by SARS for possible tax evasion and/or violations of the Tax Administration Act (TAA).

This investigation follows the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) alerting SARS Commissioner, Tom Moyane, to suspicious amounts of money which ended up in Makwakwa and his girlfriend, Kelly-Ann Elskie’s bank accounts.

In light of SARS’s revelations today, the DA has written to Finance Minister, Malusi Gigaba, in order to apprise him of the concerns surrounding Makwakwa’s continued presence at SARS and to ask if he believes that Makwakwa should be suspended from his duties at the revenue service until the investigations into his tax affairs as well as into his possible involvement in money laundering have been finalised.

It is mind-boggling how Monyane thought it wise to lift Makwakwa’s suspension despite him being at the centre of serious corruption allegations against him.

Page 5 B (iv) of the SARS Standard Operating Procedure, HR-ER-02-S01, clearly states that suspension on full pay may be imposed under the following circumstances:

  • If the employee is alleged to have committed an offence that is of a serious nature;
  • To stabilise the work environment in order to conduct a proper investigation into the allegation/s levelled against the employee or employees, and to avoid the potential tampering with evidence and/or interference with the investigation;
  • To minimise any risk and/or potential damage to SARS property and/or danger to the well-being of other SARS employees during an investigation; and
  • To protect and secure witnesses and to avoid interference or intimidation of witnesses during the course of the investigation.

There can be no doubt that the report to SARS from the FIC indicates the possibility of tax evasion and/or of a violation of the TAA, which would constitute an offence of a serious nature. Meaning, Makwakwa has no business at SARS.

The fact that Makwakwa, a senior manager at SARS, is under investigation for tax evasion should be of grave concern to Moyane and Gigaba, yet they have remained silent on the matter.

The DA will however not allow for the silence to continue. Minister Gigaba must, in his response, come clean on his stance on Makwakwa’s return to SARS.