Johannesburg, South Africa: 19 March 2019

The Black Management Forum (BMF) is concerned with the rushed and guarded manner of the South African Revenue Service’s (SARS’s) Commissioner recruitment process. Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni has re-appointed Mark Kingon as acting Commissioner of SARS for an additional 90 days in light of a recruitment process that is not as transparent as it ought to have been. It remains unclear to the general public as to who the shortlisted candidates are and when and where interviews will be or are taking place.

It is worrying that this is the case because the SARS Commission of Inquiry chair, retired judge Robert Nugent, in his interim report of the inquiry into SARS, urged President Cyril Ramaphosa to appoint a new Commissioner urgently and that he should, however, follow "an open and transparent process that is subject to critical appraisal, but without compromising the urgency of the appointment." What was supposed to be an open interview session is now seemingly detached from the public and if the report of the Sunday Times article written by Asha Speckman is anything to go by, this process lacks the legitimacy it deserves due to the following reasons:

  1. The lack of women representation on the short list is unprogressive and fails to acknowledge the importance of practicing gender parity especially in a position that has mostly been dominated by men. SARS has never had a female Commissioner in democratic South Africa. This male-dominated culture of appointing males in this position is patriarchal as it completely disregards the importance of equal gender representation in key leadership positions such as that of SARS Commissioner. Continuously overlooking competent and suitably qualified women that could occupy this key post exacerbates and normalises patriarchal practices that are continually exonerated and perpetuated in the workplace.
  1. SARS has extended Kingon's appointment for the third time, and the BMF finds this questionable because his qualifications do not match the immensity of the role he is currently occupying, furthermore, the available information regarding his qualification is inconsistent. On the SARS website, it is indicated that Kingon matriculated from Clapham High School, Pretoria (Class of 1981) and holds a Bachelor of Administration Degree from the University of South Africa. But not much is said about when he started and completed this degree on the site. Most other sources indicate that Kingon is a graduate of the University of South Africa and that he only started tertiary education 11 years after taking on his role with SARS which is in 1995 and graduated with his Diploma 2002. So while Kingon may have extensive experience working at SARS, he does not have a qualification that complements his current role at SARS.  Again this is done at the expense of the many likely deserving Black Professionals Candidates, some of which were senior to Kingon before his appointment in the acting capacity.
  1. The short-listed candidates as reported by Sunday Times, are seasoned professionals three of whom are at the tail end of their working career by virtue of their age. As BMF we are very perplexed that government is steadfast in appointing professionals close to retirement age when there is an opportunity to bring in the fresh blood of Black Professionals, who have the energy, the necessary experience and qualifications to manage these institutions. We believe the government is supposed to be a trendsetter in developing a second layer leadership and be prudent in succession planning. “We thought the announcement made by the Minister of Finance in his Budget Speech imploring retirement age professionals to go on voluntary retirement would give youthful professionals an opportunity to lead state institution, “said Nomlala.
  1. While there may have not been any legal obligation for the shortlist and interview process to be made public, but the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) recruitment process followed by the Presidency, on the other hand, gave legitimacy to the newly elected NPA head, because it was transparent and open throughout, making it assuring. BMF is unsettled because corruption and unlawful dealings related to state capture had detrimental effects on key institutions including SARS itself which should be, as indicated by Nomlala, “the panacea of the functionality of our constitutional democracy”. It should be the best tool used to ensure that economic transformation is realised. “The appointment of the new SARS Commissioner must be able to give comfort to all South Africans, “he continued.

SARS should not be getting apprehensive now that it’s reached a very crucial part of its recruitment process for a new Commissioner because what South Africans deserve is consistently transparent, fair and gender-sensitive recruitment and appointment process.

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About the Black Management Forum

The Black Management Forum (the BMF) has been in existence for 42 years. It is a thought-leadership organisation with the main purpose of influencing socio-economic transformation in our country, in pursuit of socio-economic justice, fairness and equity. The BMF stands for the development and empowerment of managerial leadership and the creation of managerial structures and processes that reflect the demographics and values of the wider society.

For more information, please contact:

Thabile Wonci
Black Management Forum

Managing Director
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011 784 4407