The Democratic Alliance (DA) has accused the commissioner of the South African Revenue Service of engaging in intimidation tactics by launching legal action against the author of The President’s Keepers.
Commissioner Tom Moyane is seeking a declaratory order that author Jacques Pauw contravened the Tax Administration Act by publishing details of the tax affairs of President Jacob Zuma in his book. The application is expected to be heard early next year.
DA deputy finance spokesman Alf Lees said the court action was without merit.
“Moyane is once again trying to execute the messenger instead of dealing with the substance of the revelations contained in The President’s Keepers‚” he said.
Lees said the old tactic of hiding behind taxpayer confidentiality had been replaced with one of intimidation to silence embarrassing revelations.
“The SARS court application‚ under the hand of Tom Moyane‚ is clearly intended to intimidate any other South Africans from exposing matters of public interest‚” Lees said.
“There is nothing confidential about the massive R145.2m estimate of taxable fringe benefit that accrued to President Jacob Zuma when the state rebuilt his Nkandla residence.
“Unless SARS deals with this revelation‚ as well as the many other revelations‚ publicly and transparently‚ the reputation of senior SARS executives and consequently SARS itself will not be restored. This reputational damage will continue to have a negative impact on taxpayer morality and the consequent resistance of taxpayers to pay taxes due.”