SARS is challenging the procedure that Mkhwebane followed in obtaining a subpoena allowing her access to the tax information of former President Jacob Zuma in 2018.
Mkhwebane is investigating a 2017 complaint by the Democratic Alliance (DA) that Zuma allegedly received an undeclared R1 million from a security company during the first four months of his presidency.
SARS has approached the High Court asking it to set aside the subpoena issued to Mkhwebane in order for her to access taxpayer information of former President Jacob Zuma.
Mkhwebane’s lawyer Dali Mpofu says SARS is hiding behind the secrecy clause, arguing that Mkhwebane should be allowed to access information that will assist her in the probe to fight corruption.
“The purpose of the secrecy must not be used where she may not access information that can be accessed by NSFAS, auditor general, the police and so on. And it is no answer my lord with the greatest respect what my learned friend is saying that if the public protector access the information must account to parliament. To show that it is none issue so must the Auditor General, police, national intelligence, NSFAS must also account to parliament so the fact that she must account to parliament cannot be used,” says Mpofu.
Mpofu went on to say if such information could be made available to other institutions, it shouldn’t be a problem for the Public Protector to access it too.
“Can anybody honestly say that the law allows SARS to give tax information to NSFAS some student bursary scheme but when it is needed for a constitutional of fighting corruption and so on it should not be given. That is why there’s a great misunderstanding. My learned friend misunderstands the nature of the counter application,” says Mpofu.
SARS lawyer Jeremy Gauntlet has questioned the procedure Mkhwebane followed in obtaining the controversial subpoena. Gauntlet has argued that Mkhwebane’s actions are misguided.
“So effectively she’s caught on the horns of a dilemma. On this basis alone the attempt which we say is incorrect because there no counter application, then we say my Lord to ask my lord to make an order against SARS must fail. This is because A is not met. Absolutely my lord. So we respectfully submit my lord that those preconditions are not met,” says Gauntlet.
Details of Zuma’s alleged irregular payments by the security company in question were first made in Jacques Pauw’s book “The President’s Keepers”. It alleged that Zuma received R1m a month from Royal Security, a company owned by Roy Moodley. Judgement has been reserved.