South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday suspended the country’s chief tax collector, accusing him of failing the organization and the country at large.
Ramaphosa’s decision to remove Tom Moyane as head of the South African Revenue Service (SARS) is already being seen by many as a step towards restoring public confidence after years of controversy during the era of President Zuma.
In a letter, the president said Moyane had failed to deal with a major corruption scandal, and had brought the institution into “serious disrepute”, weakening its ability to collect taxes in an increasingly cash-strapped nation.
Concern was raised over how Moyane handled the resignation of Jonas Makwakwa – the former head of business and individual tax accused of money laundering – because he failed to immediately report it to the finance minister, the presidency said.
Moyane had earlier insisted he had done nothing wrong and would take the matter to court. President Ramaphosa said he was ready for that.
This is a key battle for South Africa’s new leader, as he tries to exert his authority, and deal with the murky legacy of his predecessor.
Mr. Zuma was accused of failing to handle his own tax affairs properly, and of seeking to break the independence of the revenue service – allegations he’s denied.