AFRICANGLOBE – A sequestration hearing with serious implications for Julius Malema’s political future and private life is expected to be conducted by the South African Revenue Service next month.
According to well-placed sources familiar with the former ANC Youth League leader’s R16 million tax case, the hearing will take place in Tshwane.
This comes a fortnight after SARS and Malema traded words, sparked by the politicians claims that the revenue collector is pursuing President Jacob Zuma’s political agenda against him.
A seething SARS rejected Malema’s claim and invoked section 67 (5) of the Tax Administration Act by disclosing Malema’s confidential tax information allegedly “in order to disprove false allegations made against SARS and its processes”.
It has been learnt from reliable sources that Malema’s attacks have put senior SARS officials under pressure.
Sources say SARS is concerned that the institution has inadequate political protection against Malema’s damaging utterances.
It is understood that some officials claim that Malema is attacking SARS’s integrity in an attempt to prevent the revenue collector from proceeding with the hearing.
If a sequestration order is granted, Malema would be barred from holding public office, disqualified from serving as a company director and prevented even from opening a bank account.
In fact, the court would have to appoint a curator to manage his bank accounts. This would make it impossible for Malema to represent his party, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), in Parliament or any state office, effectively curtailing his political career.
A source said the hearing would take place unless a Good Samaritan bailed him out.
“I think it’s scheduled for a date in September. That he will be sequestrated I have no doubt, unless somebody was to pay for him,” said the source.
“There are a lot of people who will raise their hands, but the difficulty is that no one will want to be seen to be bailing him out because, if it’s a loan, SARS will want to know how it will be repaid. If it’s a donation, the person will have to pay a donation tax.”
SARS spokesman Adrian Lackay said on Monday “It’s a fact that the matter is scheduled to go to court as an unopposed matter in September.”
Speaking from Nigeria on Monday, Julius Malema again dismissed the hearing as part of SARS’s alleged campaign to discredit him.
“Whatever they do is not genuine. Theirs is a process that seeks to impress the political master. Sequestration is in the hands of my lawyers. Check with them how far is the process,” Malema said.
His lawyer, Tumi Mokoena, said he would not comment on the hearing because “so far we have not received any notification”.
EFF national co-ordinator Mpho Ramakatsa said the party believes SARS has launched a “politically driven activity” against Malema to keep Jacob Zuma in power.
“They are doing everything in their power to silence an alternative, radical voice,” Ramakatsa said.
Lackay has rejected Ramakatsa’s claims. “In 2010 he said this, and in 2013 he says something else. If untested allegations by a delinquent taxpayer, which are without merit, carry more value in the media than sworn statements by a state institution, which are before court and which are under oath, then such a situation is very regrettable,” Lackay added.
A police source sympathetic to Zuma defended SARS, saying the institution was an easy target because it was generally disliked by taxpayers.
The apparent rivalry between SARS and other law enforcement agencies such as the Hawks and the Special Investigating Unit has not helped, said the source.
“All the big criminals they have investigated have gone to the Hawks or the police to accuse SARS’s investigators of corruption. But if you have someone like Malema, who has a platform, attacking them, it puts them under pressure,” the source added.
Last month, Julius Malema accused SARS of unethical conduct, rejecting his request for a tax compromise for political reasons and of selling his Polokwane cabbage farm to deny him a means of income.
By: Piet Rampedi