South African Revenue Service chief Tom Moyane and Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.

Tension between Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and South African Revenue Service chief Tom Moyane blew up in the open again after the National Treasury complained of being sidelined when a top SARS official was suspended.

The Treasury said yesterday that despite a meeting with Moyane this week, the SARS commissioner did not mention the suspension of Jonas Makwakwa, who is the head of business and individual taxes.


SARS letter of suspension to Jonas Makwakwa.

SARS had told Makwakwa he was facing suspension after it was found that he had R1.2 million in his account that he could not explain.

This followed an investigation by a banking regulator into his financial transactions between 2010 and this year.

The Treasury welcomed the suspension, pending an investigation, but expressed unhappiness about not being informed about the matter.

 “The Ministry of Finance notes the suspension of the senior official at SARS that is reported in the media,” it said.

“National Treasury has not been formally informed yet. However, National Treasury met with Mr Moyane and another senior official this week to discuss the matter,” it said.

“We are awaiting further information on the action that is to be taken by the senior management of SARS in this matter,” said the National Treasury.

SARS spokesman Sandile Memela said the suspension would be communicated at the appropriate time.

This is the latest stand-off between SARS and the Treasury after Gordhan was earlier this year involved in a fight with Moyane over the restructuring of the agency.

Gordhan had refused to approve SARS’ strategic plan until Moyane had reversed the restructuring process.

This led to a stand-off for several months, prompting the intervention of Parliament.

Gordhan eventually signed off on the SARS plan in July, but neither of the two sides confirmed at the time whether Moyane and Gordhan had buried the hatchet.