The South African Revenue Service (SARS) on Monday corrected media reports stating that the Chief Officer for Business and Individual Tax, Jonas Makwakwa, was paid a bonus while on suspension.
In a statement, the revenue service moved to correct media reports that Makwakwa, who returned to work in November after being cleared of serious charges, had been paid a bonus.
“SARS finds it necessary to specifically clarify the deliberate misrepresentation of facts as this perpetuates a media-created narrative that SARS Commissioner Tom Moyane gives preferable treatment to Mr Makwakwa and conducts himself in a manner that contravenes the law,” SARS said on Monday.
The revenue service said contrary to media reports, Makwakwa was neither paid a bonus while on suspension nor was there any interference in the process of his suspension.
Commissioner Moyane placed Makwakwa on precautionary suspension on 15 September 2016.
“SARS is deeply concerned that the media continues to misinform the public about the alleged payment of his bonus and the process of his suspension. After receiving the report from the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC), SARS sought an outside legal opinion on the matter. The Commissioner, Mr Tom Moyane, took the decision to suspend Mr Makwakwa pending an independent investigation into the allegations.
“SARS wishes to confirm that finally, Advocate Motau, SC, has submitted the final report, which found that Mr Makwakwa was not guilty of any of the charges levelled against him,” SARS said.
Executive performance bonuses
In his presentation to the Standing Committee on Finance (SCOF) on 28 November 2017, Moyane pointed out that he had approved the SARS executive performance bonuses for the financial year 2015/16 on 31 August 2016.
SARS said Makwakwa received a bonus payment related to this period – preceding his suspension – as he was only suspended in September 2016.
“The payments were based on the individual performance of each executive member, in terms of the SARS Incentive Scheme Policy. These payments, amounting to R3 million, were reported in the SARS Annual Report for 2016/17, which was tabled by Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba on 23 November 2017.”
Three executives were in the qualifying posts for only three months during the 2015/16 financial year and their payments were calculated and apportioned according to the three months.
SARS informed the SCOF that although bonuses were paid to the SARS executives, no performance bonus was paid to Commissioner Moyane for two consecutive years — 2015/16 and 2016/17.
SARS appealed to the media to uphold the principles of factual, fair and accurate reportage.
“SARS is deeply concerned about apparent bias, irresponsible and mischievous reportage of stories without the verification of facts.”