IN THE wake of Julius Malema and his business colleagues facing a judicial inquiry by the SA Revenue Service, the ANC Youth League in Limpopo has urged the taxman not to get entangled in political battles.

The league did not mention Malema by name in its statement, but complained about the leaking of information regarding the financial affairs of “citizens”.

Malema, the axed youth league president, is said to owe R27 million to the receiver.

“Sars must never allow itself to be used for political battles, (nor) as a vehicle to create confusion in society, as the moment it is compromised, people will lose confidence and trust,” league provincial spokesman Klaas Mabunda said. “We (question) the continuous transactions which land in the hands of journalists before the actual reporting on any investigation conducted by Sars.”

Malema is said to be the subject of an inquiry after millions of rand had allegedly been deposited into his Ratanang Family Trust. On-Point Engineers, the firm linked to Malema, is also being probed by the receiver.

The league blames Sars officials and its information management systems for the leaks.

The Sunday Independent reported that Jacob Lebogo, an ally of Malema and provincial secretary of the league in Limpopo, owes the taxman R40 000 in unpaid taxes dating from 2007.

“The (receiver) needs to observe privacy as (its) elementary principle, in the financial matters of public members, businesses and politicians (to maintain its) moral integrity.”

But Sars spokesman Adrian Lackay dismissed suggestions the institution was leaking tax information about its clients. “Sars does not comment publicly on the affairs of any taxpayer regardless of whether it is a business, trust or individual.

“Taxpayer confidentiality (applies) whether or not a taxpayer is under investigation.”

He also denied allegations that the taxman was being used by politicians to achieve their desired ends.

“Public statements based on emotive and rhetorical positions, without factual basis, serve no meaningful purpose and will not enable anyone to deal with problems practically.”

Lackay said the league had the right to raise its complaints with the receiver, or to approach chapter nine institutions or the courts.