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President Ramaphosa appoints Edward Kieswetter as the new SARS commissioner

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President Cyril Ramaphosa has appointed Edward Kieswetter as the new SARS commissioner, as recommended by a panel led by Trevor Manuel.

On Wednesday, 27 March 2019, President Cyril Ramaphosa appointed Edward Kieswetter as the new South African Revenue Service (SARS) commissioner after his name was recommended by a selection panel appointed by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni and headed by former Finance Minister Trevor Manuel.

In a statement, the Finance Ministry announced that Kieswetter’s tenure would begin on 1 May 2019 and will be a five-year contract. The Finance Ministry confirmed that there were six candidates, including acting SARS commissioner Mark Kingon, who had been appointed by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni shortly after former commissioner Tom Monyane was fired after the Nugent Commission of Inquiry found he was neither fit nor proper to hold the position. The other four shortlisted candidates were Nathaniel Mabetwa, Sunita Mank, Gene Ravele and Nazrien Kader.

On Wednesday, 27 March 2019, Political Analysis South Africa reported that the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) had questioned why the selection process was held in secret. Seeking transparency, the EFF said that it had written to parliament, specifically directing questions to President Cyril Ramaphosa and Finance Minister Tito Mboweni, as to why the selection process for the SARS commissioner was not publicised. The EFF called the process “nepotistic” and “corrupt”, particularly highlighting Kieswetter’s relationship with Manuel.

The Finance Minister said Kieswetter had been the strongest candidate, citing his past experience as deputy SARS commissioner during Manuel’s finance ministry tenure in the early 2000s.

“Mr Kieswetter emerged as the strongest candidate, based on his past experience as Deputy Commissioner for SARS between 2004 and 2009, and his subsequent track record of transformative leadership and his experience of turning around a large institution.”

Ramaphosa said, “We have every confidence that Mr Kieswetter has the experience, integrity and skills required to turn SARS around by restoring revenue collection, redirecting operations toward innovation, developing future leaders for the organisation, and restoring SARS’ credibility and integrity.”

Abenathi Gqomo
[email protected]

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