Gordhan: Siyakha initiative (06/02/2003)

6th February 2003

Date: 06/02/2003
Source: South African Revenue Service (SARS)
Title: Gordhan: Siyakha initiative


STATEMENT DELIVERED BY MR PRAVIN GORDHAN, AT THE LAUNCH OF SIYAKHA WESTERN CAPE ROLL-OUT INITIATIVE, Cape Town, 6 February 2003

SARS CONTINUES TO DEVELOP BETTER SERVICES AND INCREASED COMPLIANCE IN THE WESTERN CAPE

Today marks a significant milestone in the transformation process of the South African Revenue Service (SARS). The launch of a new set of offices, services and compliance initiatives begins a new era of the relationship between SARS and its stakeholders in the city of Cape Town.

This programme is a comprehensive transformation process, involving both tax and customs offices and is designed to achieve a multiple set of goals. These include improved institutional efficiency, excellent service to the taxpayers, and increasing public compliance. The benefits of this change are both for the taxpayer and government in the form of increased revenues.

Over the past few months, about 1500 people have been reassigned to different jobs at different facilities in the Cape Town/Bellville area. This programme will be extended to other parts of the Western Cape during the course of this year.

The following will be achieved over the next few months:

1. Service

* Multiple channels of communication between SARS and its customers
* Resolution of most queries immediately - with a quicker turnaround time
* Creation of a separate channel for tax consultants and individual taxpayers to cater for their specific needs
* Improved e- filing - to be extended to other returns.

2. Tax Assessments

* Efficient processes
* Increased quality
* Quicker turnaround times
* Improved internal controls

3. Customs

* Dedicated client interface
* Accredited client channels
* Export facilitation
* Increase enforcement against smuggling - eg counterfeit goods
* Electronic Document Systems

4. Enforcement/Compliance

* Vigorous debt collection and filing of returns
* Risk profiling
* Multi tax and custom audit approach
* Increased field audits and inspections
* Specialised groups in different segments

Office re-organisation

The following SARS branch offices are now available to the public to provide a range of tax and customs services.

1. Tax - Bellville: Sable Centre (entrance on Teddington Street; via Le Grange; off Durban Road);
2. Tax - Central Cape Town: 90 Plein Street Office
3. Customs - 22 Hans Strijdom Drive, Cape Town.

The service at these centres will include general tax enquiries, interaction with tax consultants; advisory services and payment facilities. The centre is staffed by appropriately trained people, who are able to provide expertise and friendly assistance to SARS customers in all three languages of the Western Cape. The offices are designed to improve the public interface and provide a positive experience for the public.

In addition a number of "back-offices" changes have been made:

Assessment Centre:

This centre, based in Sable Centre, Bellville, will concentrate mainly on back office bulk operations, which will include:

* Registration of new taxpayers
* Maintenance of file and accounts
* Assessment of tax returns
* Processing of Payments

Significant re-engineering of the process changes will yield the benefits of economies of scale, and are supported by highly skilled staff as well as improved systems and technology.

Compliance Centre:

The Compliance Centre and a Customs centre will be based in 22 Hans Strijdom Street. This centre will focus on the following functions:

* Pro-active auditing of high-risk cases
* Recovery of outstanding debt;
* Special/Criminal investigations
* Deal with complex audit and collection related queries
* Customs related enquiries

This centre will benefit from a critical mass of well-trained staff and improved systems to facilitate effective enforcement and excellent customs services to the public.

Special channels for tax practitioners are currently being established.

The positive mood of the SARS staff is palpable and is ensuring ongoing enhanced services to all our customers.

The SARS, AJ West Street, Bellville, office has been closed since 31 January

Contact: Cindy August on 082-857-4297
Issued by The Office of Commissioner for the South African Revenue Service (SARS)
6 February 2003