Ramaphosa and companies compliant of tax obligations

The SA Revenue Services (SARS) has confirmed that President Cyril Ramaphosa and his companies, Ntaba Nyoni Estate and Ntaba Nyoni Feedlot have been compliant with their tax obligations.

This after the DA revealed that the controversial $580 000 (R10.5-million) paid by Sudanese businessman Hazim Mustafa to Ramaphosa in 2019 was not declared to SARS when it was illicitly brought into the country.

By law, SARS is prohibited from releasing taxpayers’ information, however, it confirmed in a statement on Tuesday that it was granted permission by the president following the public’s “interest and concern” in the president’s affairs.

“Mindful of the considerable public interest and concern in the affairs of the taxpayers Mr Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa, Ntaba Nyoni Estate and Ntaba Nyoni Feedlot, SARS has received the consent of the taxpayers in terms of section 69[6] of the Tax Administration Act no 28 of 2011 [TAA], to make a public statement.

“Without the express written consent of the taxpayer and the public officers in terms of section 69[6] of the TAA, SARS would be prohibited by law from making this statement.

“The companies’ consent was provided by the public officer for each of the companies respectively appointed in terms of section 246 of the TAA, 2011 and responsible for all acts and matters of a company for tax purposes.

“To date, audits have been concluded without any adverse tax findings. SARS wishes to confirm that the taxpayers are compliant with their tax obligations to date.”

SARS commissioner Edward Kieswetter said: “At no stage was I approached by president Ramaphosa, or anyone on his behalf, with any request related to his personal and/or the business entities in question.

“In taking this exceptional step to disclose the tax status of the president, with his written consent, SARS would also encourage other high-profile political office bearers and leaders in society to consider taking this proactive step as part of their commitment to transparency.

“This would go a long way towards building confidence in our country’s institutions.”

Nonetheless, the DA is not backing down on holding Ramaphosa accountable for allegedly failing to declare the exchange of foreign currency at his Phala Phala farm.

DA leader John Steenhuisen confirmed on Tuesday that the party has now submitted an affidavit together with a SARS response to the Office of the Public Protector to revisit the investigation.

The Office of the Public Protector investigated the president, however, the report has not been made public. As a result, the findings are unknown.

“The DA’s initial request to the public protector for an investigation into the Phala Phala matter centred around a potential breach of the executive ethics code. However, we now believe that this new information could also point to contraventions of additional laws.

“As such, we have brought this to the attention of advocate [acting public protector Kholeka] Gcaleka as the SARS declaration and affidavit may have a bearing on the initial investigation still under way by her office, and therefore warrants further examination by the Chapter 9 institution,” said Steenhuisen.

The money

An undisclosed amount of dollars was stolen when a theft took place at the president’s farm in Limpopo in February 2020.

The news of the burglary was revealed by former State Security Agency boss Arthur Fraser, who opened a case against Ramaphosa accusing him of covering up the theft.

A parliamentary Section 89 Independent Panel was established to probe the matter and it concluded that the president may have a case to answer.

The panel found prima-facie evidence that Ramaphosa may have violated the constitution, the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act, as well as his oath of office.

At the time, Ramaphosa alleged that the money came from a legitimate cattle transaction, noting that it was handed over to an employee, Sylvester Ndlovu, who later stashed it in sofa cushions at his house.

In a media interview, Mustafa confirmed the legitimacy of the transaction and said he had complied with requirements to declare the money to SARS officials at the OR Tambo International Airport upon entering the country.

In December, the DA contended that if the money was declared, SARS would have records.

It later filed an application for access to such records in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act.

However, according to the DA, there are no records of the money or transaction in SARS’ books.

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