South African Revenue Service (SARS) Commissioner  Edward Kieswetter has told the media in Pretoria that SARS cannot be compelled to give taxpayers’ information to Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane.

This is after Mkhwebane indicated that she would oppose SARS’ application to block her from obtaining former President Jacob Zuma‘s tax information.

Kieswetter says the confidentiality between SARS and taxpayers needs to be protected according to the country’s laws.

“The SARS application concerning a subpoena issued by the Public Protector compelling me to divulge taxpayer information has created a lot of speculation. The democratic principle founded on the relationship of trust between SARS and taxpayers, this is the taxpayer’s privacy which concerns the right to confidentiality of all information personal and financial that we hold in trust. It is a privilege position that we have and we regard with deep respect and honour; disclosure of tax information has consequences.”

Kieswetter has asked the High Court in Pretoria for an urgent stay against the implementation of a 21 October subpoena that Mkhwebane issued to obtain Zuma’s taxpayer information.

Mkhwebane is seeking this information in connection with a November 2017 complaint that the then Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane laid about payments Zuma allegedly received from a security company in the first months of his presidency.