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'State-sponsored corruption should outrage South Africans' - Sars commissioner

25 February 2021 8:43 PM
Tags:
Corruption
SARS
The Money Show
Bruce Whitfield
corporate taxes
Edward Kieswetter
PPE procurement
budget2021

'I'm infuriated!' Commissioner Edward Kieswetter says he feels the need to speak truth to power. Strong words on The Money Show.

As an ordinary South African, not even as the commissioner of Sars, one is infuriated by the level of corruption!

Edward Kieswetter, Commissioner - Sars

Edward Kieswetter is the Commissioner of the South African Revenue Service (Sars) and has a close-up view of the effects of corruption.

Bruce Whitfield interviewed the Sars boss after Finance Minister Tito Mboweni presented his 2021 Budget.

RELATED: No tax increases: A 'good news' Budget but SA not out of the woods

The amount of taxes we collect is a function of the state of the economy and the effective administration of the tax laws. We've had a bit of both - that leads us to the R100 billion more than the minister announced in October.

Edward Kieswetter, Commissioner - Sars

I would be the first to say 'we still have a long way to go' but we've seen more effective collection of debt, a significant increase in the number of litigation cases that are won in our favour... It's not one single silver bullet. It's a number of little things we are doing which has also created the opportunity for the minister to hold back on the R40 billion that he said he has to raise taxes by.

Edward Kieswetter, Commissioner - Sars

On the fiscal sustainability we are not out of the woods. Approaching 90% of debt to GDP is not a nice place to be if you're paying almost 21c in every rand collected just to service your debt, not even to pay the principal.

Edward Kieswetter, Commissioner - Sars

It's all about the choices South Africa makes now and their effective implementation, says the commissioner.

He discusses the positive signal the announcement of a corporate tax reduction sends to the markets.

However, that needs to be accompanied by effective administration.

We still have too many areas of abuse... If you expand your base and improve your collection and administrative capability, it creates the headroom for the minister to keep true to his promise.

Edward Kieswetter, Commissioner - Sars

We saw the PPE level of corruption and let me tell you, we are actively working on this... We've already collected close to R175 million of those taxes; people who just defraud the system.

Edward Kieswetter, Commissioner - Sars

It's often state-sponsored corruption, which should outrage South Africans and then people have the moral justification... So yes, our work is made hard by inefficient government spending where that will happen and by corrupt procurement practises.

Edward Kieswetter, Commissioner - Sars

Kieswetter says he feels the need to speak out and specifically to speak truth to power.

But thankfully, he adds, Sars has diligent and hardworking officials who continue to knuckle down and do their work.

So I am unapologetic and I speak out to my colleagues in government to say, while we don't allocate money, the extent and the quality of money spends directly impacts on the tax morality of South Africa and therefore directly on my work.

Edward Kieswetter, Commissioner - Sars

Skip to 6:47 in the audio clip to listen to Kieswetter's passionate argument:




25 February 2021 8:43 PM
Tags:
Corruption
SARS
The Money Show
Bruce Whitfield
corporate taxes
Edward Kieswetter
PPE procurement
budget2021

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