South African President Jacob Zuma

Pretoria - The presidency has rejected allegations contained in media reports on Sunday "claiming wrongdoing by President Jacob Zuma in relation to some undeclared funds".

Zuma had declared to the relevant authorities all income received and allegations contained in the reports "are misleading and are clearly part of the ongoing smear campaigns. The tax matters of the president are in order", Zuma's spokesman Bongani Ngqulunga said.

Zuma had also not received any information "related to taxes linked to the Nkandla upgrades as alleged by the media", Ngqulunga said in a terse statement in response to an exclusive extract from veteran investigative journalist Jacques Pauw’s new book "The President’s Keepers" published in The Sunday Times.

The book claims, among other things, that Zuma failed to submit a tax return for his first year in office. "This was no exception. He didn't submit a tax return for the second year, either. Or the third or the fourth."

"There are a couple of reasons Zuma didn't want to submit his tax returns. The first was more than likely the predicament of the Nkandla upgrades. Legally, Zuma owed millions of rands in tax on the fringe benefits that accrued to him because of these upgrades.

"What I discovered next was almost too fantastic, implausible and far-fetched. Have you ever heard of any head of state anywhere in the universe who was, while running the affairs of his country, also an employee of a private company?" the book says.

"In 2010, a SARS auditor in the Durban office of the revenue collector was doing a routine tax compliance check of a security company by the name of Royal Security. The company's founding member and director is Roy Moodley, who is a public friend of Jacob Zuma and an ANC benefactor."

The book alleges Zuma had been on Royal Security's payroll at R1 million a month without employee tax being deducted. "Zuma was employed at the security company for at least four months after becoming president. It means that for the first months of his presidency, Zuma's boss was Roy Moodley. These payments to Zuma must give Moodley an iron hold over Zuma.

"What Zuma allegedly did was dishonest, unlawful and unconstitutional. He came close to losing his presidency after the Constitutional Court ruled in 2016 that he had failed to uphold the constitution. But this is much worse," the book says.
African News Agency