Keynote – Dr Pravin Gordhan: SARS and the Web

Dr Pravin GordhanDr Pravin Gordhan, commissioner of the South African Revenue Service (SARS) opened the WWW2007 conference with a keynote on SARS and the Web. More generally how government is using technology to alleviate poverty, create jobs. He asked many questions like:

  • What the impact of technology is on poverty?
  • Does it empower ordinary people?

We have huge asymmetry in the population who have very good access and the lower income groups who have poor access to technology. Even just access for to Government information is out of reach of large chunks of the population. The digital divide is not spoken about much any more but it is still there.

Another important question he asked continuously is how SARS can use technology to lower the cost of compliance and increase the incentive. Back in 1998 SARS collected about R188 billion and this year is on track to collect about R558 Billion. This will be a surplus for the first time ever in the history of post-Apartheid South Africa.

So the goal of SARS when rolling out technologies like their e-Filing solution is first to continuously improve the service proposition. Second is to educate South Africans about their obligations. The 3rd is to have a very decernable enforcement policy. This was a wonderful insight into the workings of one of the most efficient government agencies.

You may also be interested in this detailed interview of Commissioner Pravin Gordhan with Business Report from 2004 after the elections.


Author: RJ Thomas

RJ Thomas is an International Relationship Builder. He was born in South Africa, and moved to China in 2013.


    Special thanks to Lorato for her patient assistance on long time efiling

    Pity the communication between SARS and the tax practitioners is almost non
    exsistent having
    sometimes to wait for hours for someone to answer the telephone, in many
    cases putting down the phone in sheer

    Your call centre is also impracticle, and a waste of time.

    Sars is also losing documents on a regular basis, despite the fact having
    signed receipt thereof.

    Assessments are taking forever, and have to be followed up on a regular
    basis, much to the irritation of the
    taxpayer. Mistakes are also encountered – made by SARS.

    Quite frankly, SARS has become an accountants nightmare.

    Please take this letter as realistic and constructive critisism.

    Louis van Vuuren
    Tax Practitioner
    011 435 9875

  • why does som one call larry dormer in sars use a free email address to contact people and how come hey ask t pay loads of tax in ttheir own name?

  • Pingback: Ramon Thomas()

  • Hi Dr Gordhan
    My wife and I were chatting the other day about young pregnant girls getting a grant to raise a child. The R200 a month cannot make it. What about an incentive for scholars and students, if you pass grade 7 the state gives you r300, you pass grage 9 r400, grade 12 r500, a diploma at an recognised institution r3000., a university degree r5000.
    In the long term we will have quality people in S.A. Thanks. D.W. Cusens