Journalist Jacques Pauw says he will oppose an application by the South African Revenue Service (SARS) in the Western Cape High Court over his recently published book.
“We will oppose the application and we will argue that I published the information legally and there was huge public interest in what I have published‚” Pauw said on Radio 702 on Wednesday.
SARS‚ in papers filed on Friday‚ is seeking a declaratory order affirming its position that Pauw contravened confidentiality clauses in the Tax Administration Act by publishing the information and‚ in so doing‚ broke the law.
“I have revealed the tax affairs of people like Julius Malema‚ Radovan Krejcir‚ Glen Agliotti. Never before has SARS brought any application against any journalist. This is the first time they are doing it and I think it’s very telling‚” Pauw said.
His book‚ The President’s Keepers‚ contained revelations over the tax affairs of President Jacob Zuma‚ including that he was paid R1-million a month for at least four months after he became president in 2009.
The payments‚ according to Pauw‚ were made by long-time Zuma ally‚ Durban businessman Roy Moodley.
He described the litigation by SARS as “highly malicious” and unnecessary “because SARS already laid criminal charges against me at the Hatfield police station … Why do they want another order? Why are they flying a battery of senior counsel to Cape Town to argue their case?
“I am not sure what they are trying to achieve. If I have broken the law‚ the NPA must prosecute me and I will defend myself in court.”
Pauw said he was not worried that he might go to jail for publishing the book if SARS pursues criminal charges against him.
“I don’t even think the law makes provision for a jail sentence when you illegally reveal confidential taxpayers’ information. I think it’s a suspended sentence or a fine.”