Tom Moyane lashes out over claims he met Guptas and Duduzane Zuma in Dubai - as it happened
Tom Moyane lashes out over claims he met Guptas and Duduzane
Zuma in Dubai
SARS Commissioner Tom Moyane has lashed out against accusations he met the Guptas in Dubai and that he knows President Jacob Zuma’s son Duduzane.
In an emotional outburst, Moyane said he could stay silent no longer. He was responding to a variety of questions from EFF MP Floyd Shivambu during a standing committee of finance meeting in parliament on Wednesday.
“I have kept quiet long enough,” he said. “People must stop writing this rubbish. This is fake news of the lowest level and borders on my integrity.”
“I tend to be too soft on issues when people who attack me,” he said. “I have kept quiet long enough. People must stop writing rubbish.”
This comes after The Times reported that travel records obtained through the #GuptaLeaks revealed that the tax commissioner stayed in Dubai during December 23 and 29, as well as another five times between June 2015 and December 2016. The Gupta family has property in the United Arab Emirates city.
The trip, according to The Times, was coincidentally at the same time that the Gupta brothers, Rajesh, Atul and Ajay, as well as Duduzane Zuma and sons of Free State Premier Ace Magashule – Gift and Thato Magashule – were in the city.
Shivambu asked Moyane if he attended a "conference to plan the future of South Africa in a meeting in Dubai?"
However, Moyane said his stop in Dubai was a transit stop while he and his family were on their way to a holiday in Portugal.
“I left on 23 December on holiday with my family. My wife and my son and I were on our way to Portugal to visit friends I have known for 40 years since we lived in Mozambique.
"We celebrated Christmas on the 24th. I have photos of that particular phenomenon. We stay there until December 28 and returned to Dubai on the 29th.
“At no point did I meet anybody,” he said.
Moyane held up his mobile phone and said it contained photos that proved his version of the story. “I have a diary and photos...”
Regarding Duduzane Zuma, Moyane said he has known him since Zuma was born in Mozambique. “I took him to school with my wife and we worked as a family,” he said. “His younger brother Edward was also in Mozambique studying at the international school.
“The late Kate (Zuma) was a sister to me – my family and their family were friends. He (Duduzane Zuma) calls me uncle. I know his twin sister. I hope this matter is put to rest.”
Tax Ombud has received complaints of taxpayers dodging SARS
Standing committee of finance chairperson Yunus Carrim has asked if the Office of the Tax Ombud had received complaints from individuals about others not paying tax.
“We do come across people who say so-and-so are not paying tax,” said Adv Hanyana Eric Mkhawane, CEO of the Office of the Tax Ombud, told the committee. “We give this to SARS to look at and the person would not get any feedback back.”
Carrim said the committee should consider expanding the office’s mandate so that people could lodge complaints when they believe others are not paying their taxes.
This comes as Scorpio – via there #GuptaLeaks emails - shows how for three years in a row, 2011, 2012 and 2013, the Gupta brothers appear to have convinced SARS that they were taking home less than R1m in personal income annually.
“The Guptas had become a household name in South Africa by 2013. Important questions thus remain about how the brothers were permitted to pay such a relatively low level of tax for multiple years concurrently,” the report explained.
Previously, Carrim said parliament needs to look at ways in which SARS can be held to account without compromising taxpayers’ constitutional right to privacy.
Carrim made the comments during the previous quarterly report briefing, in which SARS said it could not divulge any information on the alleged R70m VAT refund the Gupta family received from the taxman.
City Press had reported that SARS commissioner Tom Moyane was personally involved in the Guptas’ VAT refund.READ: We can't divulge details of alleged R70m Gupta VAT refund - SARS
People cry in my office about tax refund delays, says ombud
Tax Ombud Judge Bernard Ngoepe said people who’s businesses are on the edge of collapse sit in his office and cry about their difficulty in getting SARS to repay them money that is owed to them.
“There were people who came to my office who thought the system was against them and that there was an abuse by the system,” he said. “However, allegations of abuse of the system fall out of my scope. I restricted my investigation into a particular issue.”
Addressing parliament’s standing committee of finance, Ngoepe explained how he investigated issues where SARS did not pay individuals who were due for refunds.
The former judge spoke confidently as SARS Commissioner Tom Moyane sat silently in front of him. “We are dealing with verified data,” he said. “We are not talking about issues where SARS needs to investigate a matter. These people have been certified for refunds and are not getting them.”
“It was not for me to judge,” he said. “It is for me to put the facts together. SARS must make their own judgment.”
In his report, Ngoepe found that SARS’ system is behind the delayed payment of refunds to taxpayers. Ngoepe concluded that the delayed payments is a systemic issue.
The investigation looked at complaints which extend as far back as when the office was first formed in 2013, Ngoepe previously told Fin24. He also told Fin24 that the issue was related to mechanisms applied by the tax authority and not governance.
Some complaints are related to SARS failing to follow standard operating procedures for bank details of taxpayers which have changed.
“It is clear that the system allows for SARS to unduly delay the payment of verified refunds to taxpayers in certain circumstances. This has become a systemic issue. The system does not sufficiently protect taxpayers,” Ngoepe said in the report.READ: SARS system behind delay in tax refunds, ombud finds
Gigaba must reveal if he has too many advisers
Parliament’s standing committee on finance has requested a written response from Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba regarding the amount of advisers he has at National Treasury.
Business Day reported in April that Gigaba brought over 16 ministerial advisers and staff from the Department of Home Affairs, where he was previously minister.
ANC MP and former tourism minister Derek Hanekom said the ministerial handbook stipulates that ministers can have a maximum of 12 personal staff in their office.
“We have read that the amount of people appointed in the ministry has exceeded the number in the handbook,” he said.
Hanekom was removed along with former finance minister Pravin Gordhan in March. Both are critical of President Jacob Zuma as a result of increasing evidence that the Guptas have captured the state due to their close friendship to the president.
Gordhan and former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas shared nine ministry staff.
Gigaba to seek legal opinion on removing Myeni as SAA chair
Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba said he will get legal counsel about his decision to extend SAA chairperson Dudu Myeni’s tenure until the airline’s AGM in November.
Myeni’s contract ended at the end of August, but Gigaba extended it. However, committee members said Myeni's extended contract was irregular because it had not been approved by Cabinet and the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) had not been informed of the extension as it is legally required to do.
Gigaba told parliament’s standing committee on finance that he will measure his legal opinion against that of parliament’s opinion, which views it as possibly illegal.
“We will seek our own legal counsel on the chair and take the necessary action,” Gigaba said. “We acted on the basis on a legal opinion in the first place. We will go back to check the legal opinion we received against the legal opinion of the parliament.”
However, ANC MP Derek Hanekom said that is was very easy to see that the appointment was illegal and contravened SAA’s memorandum of incorporation (MOI). “My own reading of the MOI is that it appears … that it may well have been an illegal appointment,” the former tourism minister said.
“So we will appreciate the minister to look very carefully, even if you look at the provisions yourself – it is quite short. It will lead one very quickly to determine if it was legal or not.”
Gigaba has two option. He could take the extension contract to Cabinet to sign and then inform the CIPC, or he could end the contract and promote the deputy chair of SAA to her position.
Myeni - who was supposed to appear before the committee on Wednesday - did not show up as she was not well.
Departing procurement chief upbeat about next Treasury role
Former acting chief procurement officer Schalk Human said he is upbeat about his next role at National Treasury’s procurement unit, dispelling reports that he was forced out of his job.
Human told Fin24 on Monday that he has not been forced out of his corner office overlooking the Union Buildings in Pretoria, instead pledging his commitment to strengthening key projects in the office, which has only been in existence since 2013.FULL STORY: Departing procurement chief upbeat about next Treasury role
There is no civil war or purge at National Treasury - Gigaba
“There is no civil war,” Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba told Parliament’s standing committee on finance on Wednesday. “None whatsoever exists. The rumours in the media are precisely what they are – rumours.
“The acting chief procurement officer (Schalk Human) had himself on regular occasions requested to be relieved for the job. He had not even applied for the job.
“There is no malice towards him.
“The acting head of the IMFS was drawn from another responsibility. She was 50% on each responsibility. When challenges are arising about how IFMS is being implemented. She then comes under unfair criticism.
“Beside the perceptions out there, the minister following due process has every right to make leadership decisions regarding the department.
“It was correct to question them and make sure they are made rationally. There should be no suggestion that the minister has no right to make these decisions.
“There is absolutely no truth that there is a purge taking place at National Treasury. The facts are going to speak for themselves, when the announcements are being made.
“Nobody has resigned from our top management. I have been working with them on a whole range of issues. I demonstrated my bona fide with the appointment of the director general.”
SARS misses first-quarter tax target by R13bn
The South African Revenue Service missed its first-quarter tax revenue target by R13.1bn, a document tabled at parliament's standing committee on finance shows.
The overview of revenue collection for the year ended June 30 reveals that SARS collected R275.42bn in the first quarter, R13.1bn lower than its target or printed target (PE).
The massive drop in revenue was mostly due to the following key developments, the report shows:
- SARS collected R1.6bn less import VAT than targeted, which was mainly due to declining contributions in machinery, original equipment components and photographic instruments.
- SARS collected R5.6bn less personal income tax than targeted, mostly due to lower than expected PAYE of R4.7bn. “The lower than expected PAYE was partly due to the early PAYE payments that were received in March 2017 instead of April 2017,” it explained.
- SARS collected R2.2bn less customs duties than targeted, mostly due to declining contributions in clothing, footwear and cereals.
- SARS collected R0.7bn less VAT refunds as real gross fixed capital formation recorded a slower growth of 1% quarter-on-quarter in the first quarter. “Temporary shutdowns by automotive manufacturers for plant upgrades also have a direct impact on exports,” SARS explained.
- SARS collected R0.9bn less in excise duties occurred mostly due to lower collections in cigarettes and tobacco of R1.2bn.SARS collected R2.7bn less corporate income tax, mostly due to a decline in tax payments of R2.4bn and lower assessment payments of R0.4bn.