Ilse de Lange
2 minute read
31 May 2017
2:38 pm

Sars wants to appeal Malema’s tax affairs ruling

Ilse de Lange

The EFF leader could be compelled to testify in person about his tax affairs.

EFF leader Julius Malema (Photo by Gallo Images / Beeld / Felix Dlangamandla)

The South African Revenue Service (Sars) wants to appeal against a judgment by controversial former judge Mabel Jansen referring a dispute about EFF leader Julius Malema’s tax affairs for oral evidence.

Judge Tati Makgoka on Monday reserved judgment in the High Court in Pretoria on Sars’s application for leave to appeal Judge Jansen’s April 2016 ruling.

The ruling meant Malema would most probably have had to testify in person about his tax affairs.

Judge Jansen had said in a lengthy judgment that the dispute between Malema and Sars could not be determined on the papers before court and referred the matter for oral evidence.

Malema applied for an order to declare that a compromise agreement he had reached with Sars in May 2014 to pay off part of his tax debt of more than R18.1 million was binding on Sars and had not been cancelled.

He also sought an order for the court to declare that he had fully complied with the compromise agreement and that his debt to Sars referred to in the agreement had been settled.

Sars maintained Malema had breached the agreement and was therefore liable for full payment of his original tax debts as well as further assessments adding up to more than R32.9 million.

The tax agency has accused Malema of, among other allegations, lying about the source of the monies he used to pay off more than R7.2 million in terms of the compromise agreement, not keeping his tax affairs up to date as he had undertaken, and failing to pay donations tax.

Malema in turn accused Sars of “political skulduggery”.

Sars in February 2012 obtained a provisional sequestration order that, if confirmed, could have sunk Malema’s career as a member of parliament, but undertook to ask for the withdrawal of the order as a result of the compromise agreement.

Counsel for Sars Jeremy Gauntlett SC argued the tax agency was not attacking Judge Jansen’s integrity, but Judge Jansen had referred the matter for evidence without any of the parties asking for it and without even debating it with their legal representatives.

Gauntlett argued she had also “half-cooked the meal” by giving a full judgment on the issue, which was not the right thing to do, and failed to refer specific issues of dispute for evidence, which meant that another judge would have to decide on a “lorry-load of issues”.

Malema’s counsel, PF Louw SC, argued the ruling was impossible to appeal as Judge Jansen had actually postponed the application, and that Sars now wanted to appeal against the judge’s reasons.

Judge Jansen resigned earlier this month after a public furore about her 2015 comments on Facebook about black men and rape, with the Judicial Service Commission deciding that her comments amounted to impeachable conduct.

This was after a complaint against her that no black man could be fairly treated in her courtroom.

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