Benchmarking the effectiveness of the Special Investigations Unit in the context of ongoing changes and the re-engineering of the South African Revenue Services (SARS)

Scheepers, Daleen (2001-12)

Thesis (MBA)--Stellenbosch University, 2001.

Some digitised pages may appear illegible due to the condition of the original hard copy

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT; SARS is the arm of Government tasked with collecting revenue for the State and it is therefore contributing to the growth and development of South Africa. The objective is to provide a world-class tax and customs service and effectiveness therefore needs to be increase. It is the responsibility of the SARS Special Investigations (SI) Unit to protect the South African economy and society by being a leading law enforcement agency that focuses on commercial related crimes. This benchmarking study is an effort to identify best practices by comparing the SARS SI Unit with nine other criminal or forensic services investigations units in the Western Cape. Networking and partnerships between criminal investigations units are very important in order to combat commercial crime successfully. Half of the benchmarking participants are from the public sector and the other half from the private sector. The study is done from a management perspective and not from a technical legal perspective. Benchmarking leads to better performance and a process of continuous improvement. The SARS Siyakha re-engineering project is also currently addressing more effective processes for the whole organisation, including SI. One of the major problems of a criminal investigations unit is that it covers a very wide and specialised field and cases become bigger and more complex, because the criminals involved are using more sophisticated methods. Commercial crime is also growing at a rapid rate and even extends to the core of corporate life and is threatening to corrupt the values of our country. In criminal cases, the burden of proof is on the State and the standard of proof is beyond reasonable doubt, which is a very high standard. The objective of the criminal investigation is to obtain all relevant facts in dispute and to prove the elements of fraud in such a manner as to ensure a successful prosecution. Benchmarking represents a practical business application of the scientific approach to problem solving. The benchmarking study was therefore done by following a scientific approach, which encompasses a literature review, personal interviews with each benchmarking participant, and the completion of a questionnaire. During the interviews, critical success factors and problem areas were discussed. From the author's viewpoint it was important to provide a solid scientific foundation for the identification of best practices, models and recommendations, instead of simply stating an opinion. The key success factors and best practices identified were grouped into three key areas: Inputs, professionalism and strategy; Process, procedures and methodology; and Outputs and productivity. These three key areas were chosen to ensure that a systems perspective was followed. The findings of the study were also discussed, grouped and summarised in terms of the three key areas. A multi-disciplined criminal investigations team model was also developed as a result of the research and represents a combination between what the private and public sectors are using. Final recommendations to management and a conclusion complete the study.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: SARS is die arm van die Regering wie se taak dit is om inkomste vir die Staat in te vorder en daardeur dra hulle ook by tot die groei en ontwikkeling van Suid-Afrika. Die doelwit is om 'n wêreldklas diens te lewer om belasting en doeane in te vorder en daarom moet doeltreffendheid verbeter word. Die verantwoordelikheid van die SARS Spesiale Ondersoeke- (SO) afdeling is om as 'n agent die Suid-Afrikaanse ekonomie en gemeenskap te beskerm deur 'n toonaangewende wetstoepassingsagent te wees wat hom op kommersiële misdaad toespits. Hierdie maatstafstudie (benchmarking) is daarop gemik om beste praktyke te identifiseer deur die SAID se SO-eenheid met nege ander kriminele of forensiese ondersoekeenhede in die Wes-Kaap te vergelyk. Die daarstelling van netwerke en vennootskappe tussen kriminele ondersoekeenhede is geweldig belangrik in die stryd teen kommersiële misdaad. Die helfte van die deelnemers aan die maatstafstudie is uit die privaat sektor en die ander helfte uit die openbare sektor. Die studie is uit 'n bestuursoogpunt en nie vanuit 'n regstegniese perspektief nie, gedoen. Maatstafstudies lei tot beter produktiwiteit en 'n proses van deurlopende verbetering. Die SAID Siyakha herontwerpprojek (re-engineering) is tans ook besig om die prosesse van die hele organisasie, met inbegrip van dié van SO, te herontwerp. Een van die grootste probleme wat 'n kriminele ondersoekeenheid ondervind is dat dit 'n baie wye en gespesialiseerde veld dek en sake al hoe groter en moeiliker raak omdat die misdadigers wat betrokke is, meer gesofistikeerde metodes gebruik. Kommersiële misdaad neem ook teen 'n geweldige tempo toe en brei selfs uit na die hart van die korporatiewe sektor en word 'n bedreiging vir die waardes van ons land. Die bewyslas in kriminele sake rus op die Staat en die standaard van die bewyslas is bo redelike twyfel. Die doel van kriminele ondersoeke is om al die relevante feite waaroor dit gaan te openbaar en om die elemente van bedrog op so 'n manier te bewys en aan te bied sodat 'n suksesvolle vervolging verseker kan word. Maatstafstudies word gedoen deur middel van 'n wetenskaplike probleemoplossingsbenadering en dit verteenwoordig 'n praktiese besigheidstoepassing. Die maatstafstudie is daarom gedoen deur 'n getroue navolging van 'n omvattende wetenskaplike benadering. Eerstens is 'n teoretiese studie gedoen wat opgevolg is deur persoonlike onderhoude wat die invul van 'n vraelys ingesluit het. Tydens die onderhoude is kritieke suksesfaktore en probleemareas bespreek. Uit die skrywer se oogpunt was dit deurentyd belangrik om 'n grondige wetenskaplike basis te hê vir die identifisering van beste praktyke, modelle en aanbevelings, eerder as om net 'n persoonlike mening uit te spreek. Die kritieke suksesfaktore asook die beste praktyke is gegroepeer in drie hoofareas: Insette, professionele gedrag en strategie; Prosesse, prosedures en metodologie; en Uitsette en produktiwiteit. Hierdie drie sleutelareas is gekies om te verseker dat 'n stelselbenadering gevolg word. Die bevindings van die studie is ook bespreek, gegroepeer en saamgevat onder die drie kernareas. Een van die resultate van die studie is dat 'n "multi-dissiplinêre kriminele ondersoekspanmodel" ontwerp is wat verteenwoordigend is van 'n gekombineerde toepassing tussen die privaat en openbare sektor. Die studie word afgerond deur finale aanbevelings aan bestuur en 'n gevolgtrekking.

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