By Matthew Lester*
Few pundits would have predicted that out of the money scenario that a policeman would suddenly deliver a summons to Pravin Gordhan’s home just two weeks before the most important Medium Term Budget Policy Statement South Africa has ever faced.
On this event rides the downgrade to junk status and this is the last opportunity to save the now almost inevitable. But it happened.
Now imagine if the policemen had stopped on the way to give someone a tipoff that the summons was on its way. A dealing room with that information could have made millions in the space of a couple of hours.
But that’s not the point of this short piece.
The charge concerns Ivan Pillay’s retirement fund benefits and a R1.3m top up payment.
Surely the auditor general reviewed this as part of the SARS executive remuneration disclosed in the SARS annual report? Did the AG not examine the change in appointment per note 34 to the 2010/11 SARS annual report?
No! The AG’s findings were ‘there were no findings concerning material non-compliance with applicable laws and regulations regarding financial matters or financial management.’
And what about the parliamentary accounts committee? Have they been paying no attention to important matters such as executive remuneration? Or were their eyes wide shut?
So if there is substance to the charge against Gordhan there has also been acute audit failure. And I wonder what the AG has to say about this. And how much confidence can the public have in the much prized clean audit reports of the AG?.
• SA TAX COLLECTIONS ARE R1,2 TRILLION PER ANNUM
• THAT’S R3,3 BILLION PER DAY• R136 MILLION PER HOUR
• R2,2 MILLION PER MINUTE
WE ARE TALKING 36 SECONDS OF TAX COLLECTIONS OVER GORDHAN”S 13 YEAR CAREER IN REBUILDING SARS AS THE VERY AGENCY THAT SAVED SA FROM DEVOLVING INTO FINANCIAL CHAOS.
ALL OF THIS JUST MAKES ME VERY SAD.
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- Rhodes University Professor Matthew Lester was educated at St Johns College, Wits and Rhodes universities. He is a chartered accountant who has worked at Deloitte, SARS and BDO. A member of the Davis Tax Committee investigating the structure of aspects of the RSA tax system, he is based in Grahamstown. Follow him @ProfMattLester.
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