The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has firmly refuted recent claims of political interference in its operations, following statements made by Mr. Julius Malema, the leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), during a press conference held on July 27, 2023. Mr. Malema alleged that President Cyril Ramaphosa instructed SARS Commissioner Mr. Edward Kieswetter to investigate the tax affairs of individuals who attended and sponsored the EFF Gala Dinner.
This assertion by Mr. Malema, which was preceded by his remarks during an EFF rally, triggered a swift response from SARS, breaking its routine silence on matters of party-political discourse. SARS categorically denied the existence of any meeting between President Ramaphosa and Commissioner Kieswetter, dismissing the allegations as baseless.
In a resolute statement, SARS Commissioner Edward Kieswetter emphasized his commitment to the institution’s independence and integrity. He reiterated his unwavering dedication to the principles of transparency and accountability, vowing to resign immediately if ever subjected to undue political influence or unlawful instructions. Commissioner Kieswetter’s steadfast resolve to uphold his oath of office and protect SARS from any form of compromise highlights his dedication to rectifying the damage caused during the era of State Capture.
The Commissioner’s commitment extends beyond his personal stance. He cautioned against any SARS employee engaging in improper conduct, reminding them that compliance with the law is paramount. Kieswetter emphasized that collaboration with taxpayers to breach the law will result in dismissal, underlining SARS’ commitment to maintaining ethical standards within its ranks.
The essence of SARS’ role in the economic fabric of South Africa cannot be overstated. As the nation’s revenue authority, it plays a pivotal role in shaping the country’s trajectory by gathering funds necessary for a capable State. The revenue collected from various sources is integral to addressing the profound challenges of poverty, unemployment, and inequality, while simultaneously fostering the well-being of all citizens.
SARS’ response underscores its unwavering dedication to conducting its operations without bias, fear, or favor. The institution prides itself on ensuring that tax compliance and collection are conducted fairly, promoting equitable contributions from all segments of society. By collecting revenue diligently and effectively, SARS upholds its responsibility in building a strong foundation for South Africa’s economic growth and overall development.
In its commitment to transparency, SARS invites all citizens who witness any unlawful behavior by its employees to report such incidents promptly. The SARS fraud hotline and the Office of the Commissioner are avenues through which concerned individuals can voice their concerns and contribute to the maintenance of integrity within the institution.
As South Africa advances toward a prosperous future, the independence and autonomy of critical institutions like SARS become paramount. The ability to carry out their constitutional mandates without unwarranted political interference ensures the nation’s progress remains unhindered. Citizens are urged to support the continuation of SARS’ vital work, recognizing its pivotal role in safeguarding the nation’s democratic values and economic prosperity.
In conclusion, SARS’ swift and unequivocal response to recent allegations of political interference demonstrates its commitment to upholding the integrity of taxation processes. Commissioner Kieswetter’s resolute stance in the face of undue influence and his dedication to a corruption-free revenue service stand as a testament to the institution’s renewed focus on transparency, accountability, and serving the best interests of all South Africans.