Edward Kieswetter to head SARS for another two years

President Cyril Ramaphosa has extended South African Revenue Service (SARS) commissioner Edward Kieswetter’s term for another two years.

The Presidency released a statement today announcing that the President had extended Kieswetter’s term of office to two years.

“The decision follows the agreement between the President and Mr Kieswetter to extend the tenure of the Commissioner to enable an orderly leadership transition in the organisation,” according to the Presidency.

“Mr Kieswetter will continue leading the execution of the current strategic direction of the revenue service while ensuring a smooth leadership transition.”

This comes after a previous statement earlier in February, which said the President was in discussion with Kieswetter about an “orderly transition”.

Kieswetter was appointed as SARS head in March 2019 for a five-year term that started on 1 May 2019. 

The news of his extended term comes as a surprise, as Kieswetter has previously stated that he would definitely not agree to a second term as SARS commissioner.

Speaking at a budget review panel discussion hosted by PwC in early 2023, the SARS commissioner said he has “one year, one month, and a few days left before I retire – again”. 

He cited “selfish interest – like everyone else” as the reason for the decision to step back from his duties when his term expires.

“I took a personal decision, at great cost, five years ago that I would come back and make a meaningful impact in an area where I could make a change – I would like to invite more South Africans to do that.”

Kieswetter joined SARS as chief operating officer and deputy commissioner from 2004 to 2009.

He rejoined SARS in 2019 as commissioner after a successful stint as group chief executive of Alexander Forbes Group Holdings.

Kieswetter is widely regarded as having turned around SARS to be one of the best-performing government agencies in the country.

As commissioner, he has increased tax revenue in a low-growth period through improved tax compliance measures. 


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