A reply to a DA Parliamentary Question has revealed the sheer extent of the brain drain from the South African Revenue Service (SARS) in 2017.
A total of 506 employees have left SARS, meaning the tax agency has lost a total of 128 tertiary degrees and at least 7479 years of experience since 1 January of this year.
SARS has experienced institutional decay under its commissioner, Tom Moyane, and the reply confirms this. It also indicates the likelihood of continued institutional weakening.
Considering the critical role SARS plays in the South African economy, serious intervention cannot be delayed any further. The flight of experienced professionals from SARS means the revenue service may fail to attract critical skills and ultimately become yet another failed public entity.
South Africa is facing a tax revenue shortfall of R50.8 billion and a further weakening of key institutions like SARS could possibly worsen the situation, leaving the 9.4 million unemployed South Africans with little hope under the failing ANC government.