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Thread: What is going on at SARS?

  1. #1
    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    What is going on at SARS?

    I've just come back from SARS Mount Edgecombe - a total waste of time.

    There is only one reason I ever have to visit SARS nowadays, to collect Tax Clearance Certificates. Everything else is done online. I'd even already applied for my tax clearance certificates online and got the email back you need to print and take in for a pain-free experience. In theory you should be able to hand in the letter, show your ID and off you go with tax clearance certificates in hand.

    Not today.

    I arrive at SARS and get told to wait in a queue to get a ticket. While waiting in this queue, (I'm que-ee no. 6) I manage to have a 55 minute conversation with que-ee no.5 who, it transpires, is a professional tax practitioner. We'll get to some of what we chatted about later maybe, but you might have noticed how long that conversation was for what was a fairly short queue.

    The queue was not moving.

    About 10 minutes into my chat, que-ee no.2 started making a fuss... with the only person he could make a fuss to - the security guard at the door. No-one was working at the reception desk. The response - just be patient, some-one will come.

    About 5 minutes later a door right next to me labeled "Manager" disgorged about 10 people. One of them was the guy that issues the tax clearance certificates and unfortunately for him, not only was the door to his office with the attendant queue of about 12 people patiently waiting for him exactly opposite the manager's office he had just exited, he was also recognised.

    It transpires I had got stuck in a queue at a pretty good spot. I had a front row seat stand close to all the action (or would that be inaction?).

    The tax clearance guy gets jumped by the guy at the front of the tax clearance queue - "I've been waiting over an hour " Tax clearance guy says that there's been a crisis and he'll be back to his office in about 15 minutes and wanders off down the hall, past my ever-growing queue waiting to get a ticket at reception so that we can join one of the other queues in the building.

    I resume conversation with que-ee no. 5, now keeping something of an eye out on the empty front reception desk, the empty tax clearance issuing office and the other queues within sight. They all have seemed to have one thing in common - they weren't moving. I then started paying some attention to the front door and noticed something a bit odd there too - people were coming in (and joining my queue which now stretched out of sight down the passage), but no-one was leaving.

    For the next half an hour I did not see a single person leave with any sense that they might have actually been serviced. I made a quiet resolution to myself that if no-one had turned up to work by 11.00a.m it was time to abort the mission.

    At 10.55a.m. someone started serving the reception desk, and within a couple of minutes I was now standing, ticket in hand, in the tax clearance queue - with still no sign of the tax clearance guy. Clearly 15 minutes is a lot longer in government time compared to private citizen time. By my watch, this fellow was already at least half an hour behind his self-imposed deadline.

    Well, setting a deadline at reception had worked out well for me - I set a deadline of 15 minutes (that would be standard citizen minutes, just to avoid any possible confusion) for the tax clearance guy to turn up and commenced striking up a conversation with my new fellow que-ees and those in the reception queue opposite.

    By the time my deadline arrived, I had already established that one of the guys in the reception queue needed his tax clearance certificate for a tender today - so I gave him my ticket and wished him good luck.

    I may wonder what that crisis was.
    I may wonder how long 15 minutes is in government employee time.
    But I'm not curious enough to wait hours and hours to find out.

    Maybe I'll find out tomorrow.
    Last edited by Dave A; 25-Nov-09 at 11:57 AM.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

  2. #2
    Platinum Member Marq's Avatar
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    You have to go back again?

    Got you by the short and curlies when you actually need something from their side. If they need something from you they impose penalties and interest. This is something that should be......you take a number in their q in exchange for your tax number. If you are not served within say 15 minutes (normal civilian gmt), they start paying penalties into your account that they forced you to declare when they coddled up to the banks. With a bit of luck you can create a situation where you get all your tax back.
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  3. #3
    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marq View Post
    With a bit of luck you can create a situation where you get all your tax back.
    Now that would be

    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Diamond Member tec0's Avatar
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    Well I got aggravated to the point where I was "almost" removed by Security, However I got the attention of the local manager when I said I will keep him personally responsible for any penalties because:

    A.. > I was removed from the premises just asking “How long can this BS take”
    B.. > When I noted that the man behind me was a lawyer. “Good things do happen”

    So we “the lawyer and I” where promptly helped and send on our way with an apology from the manager. But to my mind there is NO excuse. If you demand that we must pay tax! Make damn sure you have the structure to facilitate!

  5. #5
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    Thank goodness I was in a position that I could do everything online. I would have lost it if I had to visit a SARS office and experience what you all did.

  6. #6
    Gold Member twinscythe12332's Avatar
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    The thing with SARS is they have a very weird mentality. It's like they've completely lost the plot that we are the ones paying the tax. I can understand when there are busy times (the whole efiling thing was a nightmare. their PCs were going down every few minutes), but otherwise, what is the excuse for the gross negligence? They don't have a very good service mentality.

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