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By Lunga Simelane

Journalist


Tax evasion can put ‘stain on Ramaphosa’s reputation and fitness to hold office’

EFF spokesperson Leigh-Ann Mathys said the revelation by Sars was damning and it 'refuted the concocted lies' of Mustafa.


President Cyril Ramaphosa’s integrity may be in jeopardy with the news that US dollars hidden, then stolen during a burglary on his Phala Phala farm were not declared to the South African Revenue Service (Sars) when they were brought into South Africa. The SA tax authorities on Monday revealed they were not able to find any record that Hazim Mustafa, the Sudanese businessman who allegedly paid $580 000 (R10 million) in cash to Ramaphosa’s Phala Phala farm, had declared the cash he brought into the country in December 2019. ALSO READ: Ramaphosa’s visit to Phala Phala a ‘well-calculated tactical move’…

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President Cyril Ramaphosa’s integrity may be in jeopardy with the news that US dollars hidden, then stolen during a burglary on his Phala Phala farm were not declared to the South African Revenue Service (Sars) when they were brought into South Africa.

The SA tax authorities on Monday revealed they were not able to find any record that Hazim Mustafa, the Sudanese businessman who allegedly paid $580 000 (R10 million) in cash to Ramaphosa’s Phala Phala farm, had declared the cash he brought into the country in December 2019.

ALSO READ: Ramaphosa’s visit to Phala Phala a ‘well-calculated tactical move’

This is according to the Democratic Alliance (DA) leader John Steenhuisen, who obtained this information directly from Sars, following a request submitted in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) in December 2022.

Steenhuisen asked for a copy of the declaration form after Mustafa apparently submitted a document and the tax service stated that, after it had taken impartial steps to find the record, it had concluded the record either did not exist, or it could not be found.

No Sars record

This was then accompanied by an affidavit from a Sars corporate legal specialist Siyabonga Nkabinde in the legal services department.

ALSO READ: Phala Phala: Sars confirms that Ramaphosa’s stolen dollars were not declared

In his affidavit, Nkabinde confirmed that: “On or around 17 January, 2023, I commenced engagements with various business units within Sars that I believed may be in the custody and/or be in possession and/or have knowledge of the record requested.

“[I] was advised that pursuant to the search for the record in various Sars passenger processing systems the record could not be found and/or may not be in existence.”

Was Ramaphosa aware?

University of Stellenbosch’s school of public leadership professor Zwelinzima Ndevu said although Ramaphosa as a seller may have had no control over whether a buyer declared or not (if they were coming from outside SA) the bigger question was did Ramaphosa know if the buyer declared the money or not?

Ndevu said another issue was if Ramaphosa had declared the transaction to Sars or the South African Reserve Bank because it was foreign currency.

“If the buyer did not declare and the seller, who was the president, did not declare as well, then he would have been an accomplice to a crime committed.”

Ndevu said there was only information that the buyer did not declare, yet this was worrying because it speaks of the character of a person that the president did a transaction with.

ALSO READ: EFF, DA welcomes ConCourt ruling on Ramaphosa’s bid to challenge Phala Phala report

“It might be a challenge that a president would do business with an alleged criminal or a person that would use money from proceedings that we do not know, because if you’re not declaring it could be money that you got as well,” he said.

“It would put that stain on his reputation and ultimately his fitness to hold office if he knew this man has not declared it and continued to do business with him. We don’t know whether he knew,” he said.

Tax evasion

Economic Freedom Fighters spokesperson Leigh-Ann Mathys said the revelation by Sars was damning and it “refuted the concocted lies” of Mustafa.

“This means that Ramaphosa, the president of South Africa, actively aided and participated in tax evasion. This affirms the Section 89 Independent Panel’s findings, which found that Ramaphosa may have violated the constitution of SA and the Executive Members Ethics Act,” she said.

ALSO READ: ConCourt ruling on Phala Phala report ‘not a blow’ for Ramaphosa – Presidency

Last week the Constitutional Court dismissed Ramaphosa’s application for direct access to challenge the findings of the report.

– lungas@citizen.co.za

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