Former President Jacob Zuma. Picture: Rogan Ward/Reuters/African News Agency (ANA)

Durban - The office of the Public Protector says it is not backing off with its demand for tax records of former President Jacob Zuma from the South African Revenue Services (Sars).

Instead Oupa Segalwe, the spokesperson of the Public Protector Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane, on Wednesday said they have agreed with the tax collector that while both parties are waiting for the deputy Judge President of the North Gauteng High Court, Aubrey Ledwaba, to give them a closer court date for their legal battle, the subpoena should be suspended.

Segalwe said the battle is divided into two categories; the first part is about Sars’s court application to interdict the subpoena which if it went unchallenged, would have forced the tax collector to hand over the information on Wednesday. 

The Public Protector was opposing the application of the interdict on the basis that it was unlawful for a state institution to refuse to hand over requested information to her office. 

“The parties agreed that pending an expedited date of hearing of Part B, which they must engage the Deputy Judge President on, the implementation of the subpoena shall be held in abeyance. The subpoena is not abandoned but stayed by mutual agreement between the parties. 

“Part A relates to the interdict of the subpoena while Part B goes to the heart of the matter in question: Can Sars withhold taxpayer information from the PP and whether the PP’s subpoena powers extend to taxpayer information. Part A and B refers to the different sections of the Sars court application. It is divided into A and B,” Segalwe said. 

On Tuesday, Sars commissioner, Edward Kieswetter, issued a statement saying he was pleased with the outcome of the court decision on Tuesday which essentially said that parties should jointly engage with the court on the substantial matter whilst each retains their legal rights. 

He further said since the tax administration act allows his agency to release information to third parties only if the concerned taxpayer agrees in writing, he was ready to do that when all the requirements have been met.

“If at any stage either of the taxpayers consent to the release of their information, then Sars will respect that consent. Equally, if a court orders that Sars is required to release taxpayer information then I shall comply promptly with the order,” he said. 

The tax records of Zuma are required in order to investigate a complaint which was laid by former DA leader, Mmusi Maimane in 2017 after a book by journalist, Jacque Pauw, claimed that the ex president, once and for sometime, received a R1 million monthly retainer from Durban based Royal Security, a company owned by businessman Roy Moodley.

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