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Zuma owes Sars R16m – DA

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Parliament has confirmed it had received comments from President Jacob Zuma on Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's report into the Nkandla upgrades. File picture:Paballo Thekiso

Johannesburg - The DA wants the taxman to slap President Jacob Zuma with a R16 million bill for the money spent on upgrading his Nkandla home.

This as Zuma begins to feel the heat of the public protector’s report on his private homestead.

The president is now facing criminal charges and the possibility of impeachment.

At a media briefing on Wednesday morning, the DA’s Parliamentary Caucus chairman Wilmot James and finance spokesman Tim Harris said they believed Zuma owed R16.8m from fringe benefits he received in non-security upgrades at Nkandla.

“The DA will be writing to the acting commissioner of Sars, Ivan Pillay, to request that a full investigation be launched to determine the exact amount that President Zuma owes in taxes arising from the upgrade at Nkandla,” the party said in a statement.

In a report into maladministration and overspending at Nkandla released last week, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela said Zuma should repay some of the money which was spent on the non-security upgrades to the home, including a visitor’s centre, a cattle kraal and swimming pool.

The DA said that while Madonsela did not explicitly state in her report how much the president should repay, they had done their own calculations and “on a conservative estimate” the non-security upgrades amounted to R52.8m.

“The DA has accordingly written to President Zuma requesting him to table his repayment plan for the amount he owes with Parliament, so that it can be subjected to public scrutiny.”

They said if these amounts were not repaid, they should be considered fringe benefits which the president should be liable for.

Harris said they calculated the tax bill of R16.8m by taking the figure of R52.8m and subtracting R10.6m the Department of Public Works had already allocated to the president’s private account.

The R42.2m would then be taxed at 40 percent, which should leave Zuma with a R16.8m tax bill on the upgrades, on top of PAYE.

“There cannot be some rules for members of the public and a different set of rules for those in power,” said the DA’s statement.

A day after the public protector released her report, the DA and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) laid charges against Zuma.

National police spokesman Solomon Makgale said the two dockets had been consolidated.

“We will then take those cases and investigate them like any other matter,” he said.

Media reports this morning suggested that top detective Lieutenant-General Vineshkumar Moonoo – who also headed up the investigation in the Oscar Pistorius case – would handle the matter, but Makgale said that decision was yet to be made.

Meanwhile in Parliament the DA said it was one step closer to initiating impeachment processes against Zuma.

After Madonsela’s report was released, the DA’s parliamentary leader, Lindiwe Mazibuko, wrote to National Assembly Speaker Max Sisulu, asking to initiate impeachment proceedings.

Sisulu’s office confirmed on Tuesday that it was considering the request for the establishment of an ad hoc committee and initiation of impeachment proceedings against the president.

Sisulu said in terms of the Ethics Act, and as per Madonsela’s pronouncement when she made her report public, Zuma must, within 14 working days, submit a copy of Madonsela’s report to the National Assembly.

This would be accompanied by his comments and any remedial steps taken or intended to be taken.

The National Assembly was awaiting the outcome of this process, said Sisulu.

“Once received, the report and other documents will be tabled and then formally served before the National Assembly and its committees,” he said.

The ANC said in a statement this morning it would address the media on Madonsela’s report.

Former president Thabo Mbeki has said Zuma should not rush his response to the public protector’s report on upgrades to his Nkandla homestead, City Press reported.

Mbeki said in an interview on Tuesday that Zuma should take his time studying the recommendations of the report, supporting a press release from the Presidency to this effect.

“I think it was an important statement made by President Zuma’s office, which said that he would study the report and obviously reflect on what he sees and then he would take the necessary action out of that,” Mbeki was quoted as saying.

On Tuesday night, Zuma returned from a visit to Angola’s capital, Luanda, for the Summit of the International Conference of African Great Lakes Region, the Presidency said in a statement.

brendan.roane@inl.co.za

The Star

Access the Public Protector’s Nkandla report here


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