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Former Springbok fast bowler Garth le Roux and his accountant Deon van Heerden were on Friday each sentenced to an effective four years jail for tax fraud.
Wynberg Regional Magistrate Jackie Redelinghuys said tax evasion was very common and very serious, and direct imprisonment was the only suitable punishment.
"A message that people with big cheque books can buy their way out of prison is wrong," he said.
However, both Le Roux, 53, and Van Heerden, 45, intend to appeal against their convictions and sentences, and their bail of R10 000 each was extended.
The appeal could take as much as a year to be heard by the Cape High Court.
In August, Redelinghuys convicted the two men and one of Le Roux's companies, Marketime, on charges related to their failure to declare to the SA Revenue Service (Sars) commissions Le Roux earned selling properties on the prestigious Fancourt golf estate at George.
They defrauded Sars of a total of R633,947 over three years.
Le Roux lives at Fancourt, which was also home to another cricket star fraudster, former national captain Hansie Cronje.
Redelinghuys said on Friday that Cronje's name had in fact cropped up repeatedly during the trial.
"We have seen too many examples of politicians, attorneys, religious and community leaders, wealthy businessmen and sports stars who became involved in white collar crime," he said.
The "sad reality" was that many taxpayers did not regard tax evasion as a serious offence.
The defence teams had argued that the two men were useful and productive members of the community, who posed no threat to society.
"I agree that they do not pose the kind of threat we usually deal with when murder, rape or robbery cases are heard," Redelinghuys said.
"Society, and especially the underprivileged, is however fully dependent on our government for essential infrastructure and services. These can only be provided if taxes are paid."
Redelinghuys noted that Le Roux had already spent more than R4-million in legal fees on the case, and faced a similar amount in tax penalties and interest if his conviction was upheld on appeal.
He also noted that Le Roux was highly respected by his peers not only as a sportsman but also as a businessman and father of three.
"He is involved in various charity projects, is a huge asset to Fancourt and was seen as a role model for many," he said.
However, he rejected a call by Le Roux's defence team for a suspended sentence, possibly coupled with a fine.
He also dismissed the suggestion of a suspended sentence for Van Heerden.
"Although I have deep sympathy for the two families and especially the young children involved, direct imprisonment will be the only suitable sentence," he said.
He sentenced Le Roux and Van Heerden each to six years' jail, of which two years were suspended on condition they were not convicted of fraud or theft committed during that period.
Van Heerden was sentenced to a total of four years, all suspended, on other counts, and Marketime to what Redelinghuys said was a "token" fine of R10 000.
He said Marketime already faced Sars penalties of R1,2-million, which was a suitable punishment.
Prosecutor Bronwen Hendry gave notice that the State might ask Redelinghuys for a "stated case", which could be the precursor to an appeal against decisions he made on points of law during the case, and the acquittals he granted on some charges..
She also said the State might appeal the sentence.
A sombre Le Roux declined to comment to the media, leaving in the company of his wife Tina, who has attended all the hearings. - Sapa