Nene plans to act on Sars tension

Finance Minister Nhanhla Nene says he will take action on the situation within the Sars by the end of January.

FILE: Then-Deputy Minister of Finance Nhlanhla Nene speaks at the Banking Association of SA's inaugural summit in Johannesburg, 7 September 2010. Picture: Sapa.

JOHANNSBURG - Finance Minister Nhanhla Nene says he will take action on the situation within the South African Revenue Service (Sars) by the end of January, and that he wants to find solutions that are less disruptive to the organisation.

Over the last month, Sars commissioner Thomas Moyane has cancelled executive committee meetings, suspended his deputy Ivan Pillay and Sars Planning Head Peter Richer while other officials have resigned.

Moyane said he was taking these actions based on the findings of a probe into claims of a spy unit within the organisation but the panel that conducted the probe made no findings against Pillay and Richer.

Nene's comments could be seen as implied criticism of the commissioner's decisions to suspend so many top officials.

Pillay's suspension was overturned by the Labour Court on Thursday and then the commissioner withdrew Richer's suspension on the steps of court.

Nene now says he has a copy of the report of the investigation into claims of a rogue spy unit which may allow him to make up his own mind on whether Moyane took the right action.

Since the new commissioner was appointed, he disbanded the revenue service's executive committee and suspended other top officials.

Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille claimed this was an attempt by President Jacob Zuma to capture Sars, a claim he denied.