Sars’ once ‘beautiful’ digital infrastructure now lags behind

The commission of inquiry into tax administration and governance at the South African Revenue Service this week heard how a new operating model instituted by now-suspended commissioner Tom Moyane dealt a blow to the organisation’s IT capability.

However‚ according to senior procurement specialist Michael Mavuso‚ the list apparently does not exist. Rangewave allegedly pocketed 40 percent of Gartner’s R200m earning. Mavuso also claimed Gartner did not make the initial shortlist for the contract and that he was instructed by his seniors to approach the American company.

But it was not the impact of the assessment or the way in which Gartner got the contract that captured the attention of South Africans at the inquiry this week. Instead‚ it was the testimony of Sars’ Digital Information Systems and Technologies chief officer‚ Mmamathe Makhekhe-Mokhuane.

Makhekhe-Mokhuane‚ appointed to the high-paying position by Moyane in 2016‚ became the subject of ridicule on social media after her testimony on Wednesday‚ mostly for her incoherent metaphors and dodging of key questions.

In the overflow room at the inquiry‚ staff at the revenue collector were left in stitches at the IT boss’s testimony. Retired judge Robert Nugent‚ however‚ who heads the commission‚ seemingly became frustrated with Makhekhe-Mokhuane. On two occasions‚ Makhekhe-Mokhuane asked Nugent for his “protection” from advocate Frances Hobden‚ who was leading the evidence.

She also told the commission that it was “beyond a waste of [its] time” questioning her about why‚ according to minutes‚ she only attended four of the 14 operational meetings in her department. In correcting Hobden on a matter of semantics‚ Makhekhe-Mokhuane also insinuated the advocate was “slow”.

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