Instead of dropping Flash, SARS has built a web browser

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In one of the wackiest developments of 2021 so far, the South African Revenue Service has launched its own web browser. Why, you ask? Because it’s the only place where citizens of South Africa can easily access eFiling and submit tax forms after Adobe killed off Flash Player officially in 2020. 

The death of Flash was all but a surprise too. Back in 2017, tech firms including Microsoft and Google announced that they would kill off support for the plugin. That’s because newer technologies are ample and serve as far better foundations for new, richer content and applications. Even more, security has been an issue for Flash over the years — it was particularly vulnerable to cyberattacks. That’s… not something you want to subject your financial information to, yeah?

SARS and its patches

Anyway. So SARS had to think on its feet and put pressure on the IT staff to make some of its eFiling forms accessible to the public. Luckily it has already ported some of the most-used forms to the newer, faster, better HTML 5. But not everything. So it did what any normal public service provider would do… Move away from Fl…

Oh, no. That’s not what happened. On Sunday, 24 January, SARS announced on its social platforms and website that it had launched a brand new browser that supports Flash. Crisis averted, right? No. This newly designed browser (that can only be used to access SARS platforms) only works on Windows devices, and isn’t at all downloadable on macOS or Linux machines. 

Regardless of the fact that SARS is cutting a whole chunk of its client base by launching this platform, it doesn’t seem like a long-term solution for a problem that could’ve been solved in the past four years. If anyone needs a Windows machine to do their taxes, we may have one in a cupboard somewhere. 

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Digital Editor at Stuff. Nevermind the fancy title, I like writing about things that are cool. Like games, gadgets and sometimes even software. Depending on how cool it is.

4 Comments

  1. Keith Bradley on

    So security is not an issue? I can see a whole lot of Ransomware, Data breaches and hack attacks coming their way, with the possibility of the attacks spilling over to the public sector.

    Poor management and foresight, even less hindsight.

    • Phillip Peterson on

      It really doesn’t sound like SARS did anything here except throw some money around, the only support partner that will assist enterprises with this issue from this year forward is Harman which sells packaged browser solutions, a browser including flash.

      Their base solution offering starts at around $25 000

  2. Phillip Peterson on

    It really doesn’t sound like SARS did anything here except throw some money around, the only support partner that will assist enterprises with this issue from this year forward is Harman which sells packaged browser solutions, a browser including flash.

    Their base solution offering starts at around $25 000 (https://services.harman.com/partners/adobe)

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