Zuma willing to hand over tax records to public protector

Former president Jacob Zuma
Former president Jacob Zuma
Image: JACKIE Clausen/ Pool

Former president Jacob Zuma has officially confirmed that he is happy for his confidential tax records to be handed over to public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane — in a sworn statement filed less than 24 hours before Mkhwebane is set to face off with Sars commissioner Edward Kieswetter in court.

Zuma has also confirmed that he will not be opposing or supporting Kieswetter’s Pretoria high court application for an order that the public protector’s subpoena powers do not extend to taxpayer records, in a case that centres on Mkhwebane’s efforts to access his tax information from Sars.

“I otherwise have no legal interest in the outcome of the application,” he states, in an affidavit filed on Thursday.

Zuma confirms under oath that he authored a tweet — following Kieswetter’s media conference about his legal action against Mkhwebane — “in order to indicate that I had no objection to the public protector gaining access to the taxpayer information which she seemingly needed to complete an investigation in the public interest”.

Mkhwebane is seeking Zuma’s tax records, as part of her investigation of claims that the former president received monthly payments of R1m from the Royal Security company — headed by politically connected businessman Roy Moodley — in the first few months of his term.

Then DA leader Mmusi Maimane asked Mkhwebane to investigate these allegations shortly after the release of Pauw’s book.

She first subpoenaed Zuma’s tax records in October 2018.

Zuma filed his four-page affidavit after Kieswetter stated in court papers that there was no real proof that the tweets she relies on as evidence of this were even authored by the former president.

Zuma also confirms that Mkhwebane’s lawyers sought his confirmation about the authenticity of his tweets in November last year, but this request had “unfortunately ... coincided with a period in which I was seriously ill and had ... to travel out of the country to receive medical attention”.

“For the avoidance of any doubt, I also state that in writing the tweet, I also intended to give unqualified consent for the use of the relevant information by the public protector or any other organ or institution of the state, which would in any event be bound by its own rules regarding confidentiality.”

Sars had stated that, even though Zuma may have agreed to the disclosure of this tax information, Royal Security had not, which means that Zuma’s tweet “cannot coherently be contended to constitute consent capable of rendering this application academic”. 

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