May 23, 2018 / 5:25 PM / in 6 months

South Africa's Ramaphosa sets up inquiry into tax service under Zuma

FILE PHOTO: South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa speaks after his meeting with Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May in Downing Street, London, April 17, 2018. REUTERS/Hannah McKay/File Photo

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Wednesday he had established an inquiry into tax administration and governance amid allegations of misconduct by the suspended head of the revenue service.

Ramaphosa, who replaced Jacob Zuma as head of state in February and has promised to crack down on graft, said the terms of reference for the inquiry would be published in the coming days.

“The stabilisation of the South African Revenue Service (SARS) has received priority attention,” Ramaphosa told parliament, adding that he had signed a proclamation establishing the tax commission on Wednesday.

The inquiry will include investigating the handling of revenue shortfalls, the unauthorised payment of bonuses to top executives and the withholding of refunds to ordinary tax payers, a treasury official told parliament.

Tom Moyane, the suspended head of SARS, was earlier this month served with disciplinary charges related to alleged misconduct during his tenure. He denies any wrongdoing.

Moyane is one of several government officials Ramaphosa has replaced since taking over from scandal-plagued Zuma as part of a drive to tackle endemic corruption.

Ramaphosa also said he would donate half of his annual salary of 3.6 million rand ($286,500) to a charitable fund being launched to mark 100 years since the birth of anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela.

He is one of South Africa’s richest people after selling out of his Shanduka investment vehicle, which owned stakes in mining firms, mobile phone operator MTN and McDonald’s South African franchise, at a time when the firm was worth over 8 billion rand.

($1 = 12.5626 rand)

Additional reporting by Alexander Winning in Johannesburg; Editing by Joe Brock

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