Kieswetter: I will not tolerate any political interference at Sars

South African Revenue Service (Sars) commissioner Edward Kieswetter told Parliament’s Standing Committee on Finance that since taking over the reins at the revenue service, he has not experienced any political interference, and neither would he tolerate any.

 FILE: South African Revenue Service (Sars) Commissioner Edward Kieswetter. Picture: @sarstax/Twitter.

CAPE TOWN - South African Revenue Service (Sars) commissioner Edward Kieswetter on Wednesday said that the revenue service would act without fear or favour against any individual or entity that did not meet their tax obligations.

He told Parliament’s Standing Committee on Finance that since taking over the reins at the revenue service, he had not experienced any political interference, and neither would he tolerate any.

It’s been reported that the African National Congress (ANC) has failed to pay over to Sars millions of rands in pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) tax collected from employees and that Sars has seized some of the money allocated to the ruling party by the Independent Electoral Commission as part payment of its debt. The ANC is currently struggling to pay staff salaries.

Democratic Alliance (DA) MP Geordin Hill-Lewis wanted a public assurance from Sars commissioner Kieswetter that no political pressure was being applied in relation to a certain political party’s outstanding tax bill.

“I imagine that there may be some pressure exerted on Sars regarding this matter and I just want a public assurance that in any tax offence matter, regardless of who is involved, Sars will act without fear or favour to recover monies owed not to Sars but to the people of South Africa,” Hill-Lewis said.

Kieswetter said that he had no political interference from any political party or leader.

“I can also give the assurance that I will not tolerate any political interference. I would rather resign than comply with any political request," Kieswetter said.

“I hold the fact that Sars has to be independent, administer the laws professionally, but also without fear favour or prejudice. I hold that very dear and will seek to honour that.”

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