Pretoria – EFF leader Julius Malema’s tax woes are far from over and he is now expected to testify in person before the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, about his tax affairs.
The South African Revenue Service (Sars) unsuccessfully applied for leave to appeal against a judgment delivered by controversial now former Judge Mabel Jansen, in which she referred Malema’s tax problems for oral evidence.
Judge Jansen earlier said in her judgment that the disputes between Sars and Malema were too complex and too many to resolve simply on court papers.
Sars maintained that the issues were clear cut and that Malema had lied about his income and that he failed to keep his tax affairs in order.
According to Sars, Malema owed the taxman more than R32.9million.
Malema, on the other hand, said his 2014 compromise agreement reached with Sars, during which he paid off R7.2-million of his R18-million tax debt, was binding.
He accused Sars of illegally reneging on the agreement and said as far as he was concerned, he no longer owed Sars anything.
One of the disputes which arose was that Malema was of the view that he should not have been taxed on donations.
Sars, on the other hand, accused him of not revealing the true source of his income. It also said Malema failed to disclose his interest in a Polokwane property.
Malema claimed he had forgotten about the property as he never paid for it. According to him businessman Lesiba Gwangwa’s company On-Point footed the bill for a large part of the purchase price.
Former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela in 2012 found that Malema had “improperly benefited” from a R52-million tender awarded by the Limpopo Roads department to On-Point.
Sars tapplied for leave to appeal this week to the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein against Jansen’s judgment that the matters be referred for oral evidence and said it was within its rights when it informed Malema that it is not bound to the compromise agreement because he allegedly failed to make a frank disclosure of his tax affairs to it.
This prompted Malema to turn to court to have the agreement declared binding on Sars, which in turn resulted in Jansen referring all these issues for oral evidence.
Sars, in its leave to appeal bid this week, said Jansen should have concluded on the affidavits and arguments before her that the agreement was not binding as Malema allegedly did not disclose his full income and failed to keep his tax affairs up to date.
Sars said the SCA should pronounce on these issues.
Judge Tati Makgoba, in delivering his judgment yesterday, agreed with Jansen that these issues would best be disposed of when the parties gave oral evidence in court. He said not only will it shed some light on Malema’s tax issues, but it will also clarify whether both parties’ interpretation of the compromise agreement was correct.
The judge said heading to the SCA would not resolve any of these issues. “It might well be that Sars is inconvenienced due to the fact that some of the people who were involved in the conclusion of the compromise agreement are no longer in its employ,” the judge said.
He concluded that this inconvenience did not make the matter appealable.
“It is not in the interest of justice to hear the appeal,” the judge said in turning down Sars application and slapping it with a costs order.