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Kieswetter’s term as SARS commissioner extended

Sameera Casmod |
28 February 2024 | 10:50 a.m. SAST
2 minute read

Image: SARS

In a move aimed at ensuring continuity and stability with the South African Revenue Service (SARS), President Cyril Ramaphosa has extended Commissioner Edward Kieswetter’s term for an additional two years. This decision, announced by the presidency, follows an agreement between the President and Commissioner Kieswetter, who assumed office in May 2019 for a five-year term.

Now, he will continue leading the execution of the current strategic direction of the revenue service, the presidency stated, while ensuring a smooth leadership transition.

Speaking to Radio Islam International, Edward Kieswetter reflected on the past five years and outlined plans for his extended tenure.

Although initially hesitant about extending his term due to personal reasons and the demanding nature of the role in a challenging economic climate, Kieswetter says that the extension will allow him to implement the restorative strategies he has constructed for SARS.

“I was really focused on building a strong leadership team. So, the two years will allow me, as the Commissioner, to embed the strategic intent,” Commissioner Kieswetter says.

In the past five years, the organisation has faced numerous challenges, including the repercussions of state capture and disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

On the accomplishments of SARS in the last five years, Kieswetter told Radio Islam that the organisation has witnessed remarkable growth, with a compound annual growth rate of 7% and a 22% annual growth rate in compliance revenue.

“In an economy that was very sluggish, we have seen revenue grow by a compound annual growth rate, over the five years of about 7%. That’s remarkable. Within that, our compliance revenue has grown on a compound growth rate per year of 22%,” Kieswetter highlights.

He attributes this to the effectiveness of SARS’s compliance program and investments in modernising platforms using data science and artificial intelligence.

“Just this year, we have already reported R66 billion of refund fraud detection that we have uncovered,” Kieswetter says.

Despite facing financial constraints that impacted employee benefits and wage agreements, Kieswetter reports an increase from 61,5% to 70% in employee engagement, as well as an increase in taxpayers’ trust levels in SARS.

Kieswetter says there is a need to strengthen the leadership system within SARS, detect collusion, prosecute high-profile criminal syndicates, and increase investment in port infrastructure and the SARS platform—problems that he hopes to focus on in the next two years.

Listen to the full interview on Sabaahul Muslim with Moulana Sulaimaan Ravat here.


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