While Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane says she will oppose an urgent legal bid by the South African Revenue Service intended to restrict her from obtaining former president Jacob Zuma’s tax information, Sars commissioner Edward Kieswetter insists that the Public Protector is not mentioned as a party to whom he may give taxpayer information.
Last month Mkhwebane issued a subpoena to obtain the former president's tax information as part of an investigation into a 2017 complaint from the Democratic Alliance claiming that Zuma pocketed undeclared money from a security company during his presidency.
This is not a matter of our opinion or a matter of our sentiments and it does not relate to any taxpayer. The Tax Administration Act is very clear about who Sars must give taxpayer information to, under what conditions, for what purpose and in this regard it leaves the commissioner of Sars with no discretion.— Edward Kieswetter, Commissioner - Sars
The Public Protector is not mentioned as a party to whom the commissioner may give taxpayer information.— Edward Kieswetter, Commissioner - Sars
The subpoena puts us in a position where if I ignore the Public Protector's request, then I commit a criminal offence in terms of the Public Protector's Act, on the one hand, if I do give out the information I commit an offence also criminal in terms of the Tax Administration Act. The only way one can resolve this is to seek legal clarity.— Edward Kieswetter, Commissioner - Sars
She can get an order from the court and we would respond to it gladly, this is not a matter of trying to up-stand the public protector, there is no interest for us to do that.— Edward Kieswetter, Commissioner - Sars
Zuma has since tweeted about the matter, saying he has nothing to hide and gives the Public Protector permission to access his records.
I hear that my SARS records are being contested in court by Kieswetter. No one has consulted me about this matter. Furthermore, I have been informed that the office requesting these records is the office of the @PublicProtector (PP) @AdvBMkhwebane— Jacob G Zuma (@PresJGZuma) November 12, 2019
It must be known that I have nothing to hide. If the @PublicProtector wants to see my SARS records she is free to do so. We should not make the job of the PP difficult. If she wants my records, she must have them.— Jacob G Zuma (@PresJGZuma) November 12, 2019
Click on the link below to hear more from Kieswitter....