Government given two years to amend Tax Admin Act and PAIA

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The Constitutional Court has given Parliament two years to amend sections of the Tax Administration Act and the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) saying the law should allow for tax records to be accessed in limited circumstances and in the public interest.

The country’s Apex court has reaffirmed the High Court in Pretoria’s 2021 ruling on the invalidity of certain sections of the Act.

This follows the legal challenge by Arena Holdings against South Africa Revenue Service (SARS) for rejecting the application to access the tax records of former President, Jacob Zuma by the Financial Mail and amaBhungane under the Promotion to Access Act.

The challenge followed corruption allegations stemming from author, Jacque Pauw’s book, “The President’s Keepers” in 2019.

Justice Jody Kollapen read out the majority judgment. “The declarations of invalidity referred to in paragraphs one and two above are suspended for a period of 24 months from the date of this order to enable parliament to address the constitutional invalidity found to exist. Pending any measures parliament might take to address the invalidity, the impugned provisions will read as follows, mandatory disclosure in the public interest despite any other provisions of this chapter, the information officer of a public body must grant a request for access to record of a body.”

VIDEO | Concourt ruling on the release of former President Jacob Zuma’s tax records: