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SARS is forking out reparations to staff after the ‘rogue unit’ saga

SARS is forking out reparations to staff after the ‘rogue unit’ saga

The South African Revenue Service has completed an internal process with members of its staff over the events that unfolded during the the state capture of SARS between 2014 and 2018, when former president Jacob Zuma was at the country’s helm.

SARS said in a statement that it was happy to announce that internal reparations were conducted with the affected staff, as a result of malfeasance and damaging allegations of a rogue unit operating within the revenue collection agency.

The company also apologised to those employees last week.

Commissioner Edward Kieswetter, on behalf of SARS, also tendered “a heartfelt public apology” to its current employees for the organisation’s actions and omissions that had had such a “devastating and profound impact” on their lives.

THE NUGENT COMMISSION FINDINGS

The Commission of Inquiry into Tax Administration and Governance by SARS (Nugent Commission) found that SARS was guilty of failing to have integrity and lacked “governance”, under under the leadership of former commissioner, Tom Moyane.

The commission recommended that, “SARS should consider reparations to current and former employees, not necessarily pecuniary in nature, who were negatively affected by actions taken by SARS as a consequence, amongst others, of the Sikhakhane and KPMG reports”.

THE SITUATION AT SARS WAS WORSE THAN EXPECTED

The revenue service sad that when Kieswetter took over at SARS, he had found the situation to be much worse than reflected in the Nugent report.

He immediately tried to restore staff morale and re-establish trust in the organisation.

Kieswetter implemented the following measures:

  • A pastoral and “listening” campaign aimed at giving staff an opportunity to share and reflect on their experiences,
  • The reinstatement of “supernumerary” employees in their previous or, alternatively, in meaningful roles and re-employment for some specialist employees who left SARS between 2014 and 2018.
  • A review of external and internal investigations, disciplinary and other employment-related actions that may have been unwarranted was carried out and all these matters had been closed.

REPARATIONS

What are the reparations SARS will make to its employees?

According to the statement, staff who experienced negative effects in their careers or positions would receive assistance in multiple ways.

These would include:

  • Counselling where required
  • Post- graduate study assistance
  • Secondment to the Office of the State Attorney
  • Payment of legal costs and medical expenses.

“I acknowledge the significant damage caused to the organisation and the deep hurt to our current employees. I sincerely hope that with the conclusion of this procedure, the affected individuals and their families may experience a sense of closure and continue their own journey to healing and restoration.

“I thank each one of them for their commitment to SARS and what SARS stands for. I commend their resilience for remaining in SARS under very difficult circumstances and contributing to rebuilding a smart, modern SARS with unquestionable integrity that is trusted and admired”, Kieswetter said.

“To the extent that some current employees were adversely affected by the Sikhakhane and KPMG investigations, SARS recognises that both the Sikhakhane and KPMG investigations and the ensuing findings and recommendations were deeply flawed, and SARS has since made it clear and reiterates once again that it will not use them for any purpose. SARS recognises that these reports should not have been used as a basis for any of the actions taken against some SARS officials.”

“Many of you are still young enough to experience a meaningful contribution at SARS, and I want to encourage you as we put these negative experience behind us, you retain your positive engagement. I wish you a rewarding time during the rest of your tenure.”

Do you think the reparations provided by SARS are enough?

— Business Report (@busrep) November 14, 2022

BUSINESS REPORT

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