Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane says former President Jacob Zuma’s tax information holds the key to the success of her pending investigation.

 

Mkhwebane is investigating a 2017 complaint from the Democratic Alliance (DA) that Zuma allegedly received undeclared money from a security company during the first four months of his presidency.

 

The claim was made in investigative journalist Jacques Pauw’s book ‘The President’s Keepers’, which alleged that Zuma received R1 million a month from Royal Security, a company owned by Roy Moodley.

 

Pauw wrote that neither Zuma, nor Moodley, declared these payments to SARS.

 

In October, Mkhwebane issued a subpoena to obtain Zuma’s taxpayer information.

However, South African Revenue Service (SARS) commissioner Edward Kieswetter told the media in Pretoria on Tuesday that providing such information would be tantamount to violating taxpayers’ privacy.

The Public Protector spokesperson Oupa Segalwe says as a chapter 9 institution, they should not be hindered from acquiring relevant information for their investigations.

“It’s inconsiderable that she can be expected to hold executive to account and conduct investigations yet be unable to access a document so crucial. We are aware of the condition of SARS in the matter and hence we think it will be important for the court to make a pronouncement as to whether it is correct,” says Segalwe.

“A chapter nine institution that has got a wide range of powers. Is it correct that it is prohibited to receive that kind if documents? We understand that tax payers’ information is something confidential but the Public Protector is known to have access to information of people. The information is for illegitimate investigation that is being conducted within the bounds of the law,” explains Segalwe.