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Sars: Media organisations should back off from 'relentless malicious attacks'

Sars said Tom Moyane was being treated unfairly after being accused of failing to act against Makwakwa.

Sars commissioner Tom Moyane and Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan at the Sars briefing on 01 April. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Revenue Services (Sars) says media organisations should back off from what it calls relentless malicious attacks against the institution because otherwise some people may decide to stop paying tax.

Yesterday, Sars said its commissioner Tom Moyane was being treated unfairly after being accused of failing to act against his deputy Jonas Makwakwa.

Makwakwa was suspended last week after the Sunday Times revealed he had received suspicious payments but that Moyane had not acted against him immediately.

Sars Luther Lebelo says he can't understand why all of the media is attacking Sars.

"And all the comments are on a relentless line to attack Sars for all it does. So the commissioner goes and suspends some senior officials and he's attacked for suspending them. And then later on he's attacked for not suspending them."

But he says he doesn't believe Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan is involved.

Gordhan has been highly critical of Moyane's decision to go ahead with the restructuring of Sars.

The statement, which singles out coverage in three newspapers, highlights successes under the commissioner and states it is without substance to create a caricature of Sars that is falling apart or breaking.

The revenue service says the media has failed to acknowledge and recognise its achievements under the leadership of Moyane, including the collection of over R1 trillion by Sars in the 2015/16 financial year, which helped to reduce the country's deficit and contributed to SA avoiding a rating agency downgrade.

It further says no previous Sars Commissioner has been subjected to such an unrelenting media assault on his integrity.

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