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Nene explains reason for initially backing Sars restructure

Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene has testified at the Nugent Commission of Inquiry which is sitting in Pretoria today.

A screengrab shows Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene at the Nugent Commission of Inquiry on 31 August 2018. Picture: SABC Digital News/youtube.com

PRETORIA - Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene says he gave commissioner Tom Moyane his blessing to restructure Sars because he honestly believed it would yield positive results.

Nene has testified at the Nugent Commission of Inquiry which is sitting in Pretoria on Friday.

Retired Judge Robert Nugent is investigating a raft of allegations of wrongdoing at the revenue service under the tenure of Moyane.

WATCH LIVE: Gigaba, Nene appear before Nugent Commission

The minister has pointed out that Moyane didn't need his permission to restructure the organisation because the Revenue Service commissioner may make operational decisions independently.

Nene says Moyane told him he was going to revitalise the Sars brand with an overhaul in order to strengthen and revitalise governance.

“With hindsight now, it didn’t actually achieve that intended objective. In fact, the company that was advising was a company that had advised one of our institutions, the Development Bank of Southern Africa, and was able to turn it around. I find it very strange that this same company produced a different outcome.”

‘TOO POWERFUL’

On Wednesday, the commission heard Sars commissioner is “too powerful”.

Senior Treasury officials made submissions before the Nugent Commission. Treasury’s Ismail Momoniat says they may propose changes to the legislation.

"What’s clear is that the commissioner is too powerful. The Sars Act is written where everything vests in the commissioner, like the structure and bonuses, everything."

Commissioner Michael Katz suggested the commissioner be answerable to a board.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)

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