SARS commissioner Edward Kieswetter (centre) denied protecting Jacob Zuma from the Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane from accessing his tax records. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

Pretoria - The South African Revenue Service (SARS) commissioner Edward Kieswetter on Tuesday denied protecting former president Jacob Zuma from the Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane from accessing his tax records. 

The public protector has issued a subpoena in an attempt to obtain Zuma’s tax information as part of an investigation into a complaint laid by former Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane following damning details from journalist Jacques Pauw's book, The President’s Keepers. 

The book claims that Zuma pocketed undeclared money from a security company during his Presidency. 

Business Day reported on Monday that SARS launched an urgent court bid to prevent  Mkhwebane from getting former Zuma's tax information. 

On Tuesday, during a media briefing held at the SARS offices in Pretoria, Kieswetter told journalists that the revenue service has a mandate to protect tax payers' records without fear or favour. 

"We apply our Act without respect of person, position or status in society. The fact that something is newsworthy and is a person of prominence, doesn't matter to us. We certainly do not appeal to the sensationalism that is often considered newsworthy," he said. 

Kieswetter said SARS could not be compelled to give taxpayers’ information to the Public Protector. 

In its application, SARS wants the high court to rule that it can withhold taxpayer information from the public protector, and that the protector's subpoena powers do not extend to taxpayer information. 

It also wants Mkhwebane to pay 15% of the legal costs in the case. 

Meanwhile, Zuma took to Twitter on Tuesday to state that if Mkhwebane wants to obtain his SARS records “she must have them”. 

He continued to say that he had not been “consulted” on Kieswetter and Mkhwebane having butted heads over his SARS records. 

"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," Zuma tweeted.

African News Agency (ANA)