WATCH: Van der Merwe family takes on the taxman in jaw-dropping R7.6bn lawsuit
Economy / 19 August 2019, 06:00am / Adri Senekal de Wet
CAPE TOWN – Businessperson Gary van der Merwe and his model daughter, Candice van der Merwe, have issued summonses against the SA Revenue Service (Sars) totalling R7.6 billion.
The amount is comprised of three summonses issued in the first six months of this year.
The first summons claims R5.6bn from Sars, which was the complainant in a case that put Van der Merwe through a decade-long criminal trial where he was acquitted on all tax-related charges.
Van der Merwe alleges that Sars’ actions cost him R5.6bn in lost investment, lost earnings from what would have been the world’s first online lottery and massive reputational damages. He said: “Sars destroyed a brilliant business, years ahead of its time, and then engaged me in a criminal trial that lasted more than 10 years in the Cape Town High Court, when I could have been doing business.
"They stole the best years of my life from me and my family.”
Another summons, also issued by Van der Merwe is for R1bn based on Sars falsely claiming that the money his daughter received in 2013 from a friend overseas was actually his.
“They made me out to be a criminal mastermind who would use my own daughter to launder money in circumstances where this simply could not have been the case. I have never had any money outside the country and Sars never even alleged where it could have come from”, said Van der Merwe.
The third summons, issued by Candice van der Merwe, for R1bn, is as a result of Sars claiming that she was a conduit for her father’s money in circumstances where this was later admitted by Sars not to be the case.
The damages claimed include constitutional damages, resulting from Sars causing irreparable harm to her reputation, legal costs and compensation for the manner in which Sars pursued Candice van der Merwe without properly investigating the source of money.
“Where Sars should have been grateful for my daughter bringing more than $15 million (R229m) into the country, they punished her and destroyed her life. In hindsight, she should have never made the mistake of allowing her gift to be paid into a South African bank account. The money was a gift, which is totally untaxable.”
These summonses are in addition to an upcoming tax case due to be heard on August 30 in the tax court sitting at the Cape Town High Court, where Van der Merwe is assisting his daughter to recover the R44m she paid to Sars under protest in March 2016, plus the interest on the money, estimated to have grown to R21m.
Van der Merwe said the fight was just beginning and he intended to get justice, even if it took years. “These things take time, but once the cases come to court the truth will come out and Sars will have to pay our damages. It’s a case of 99 days for the crooks and one day for justice. I trust the courts completely and have faith that the judges will help us get to the truth.”
Sars intends to oppose the matter, according to the court papers in Business Report’s possession.