Advocacy coordinator Karabo Rajuili unpacks amaBhungane’s latest legal challenge with Sakina Kamwendo on SABC2’s Morning Live show.
AmaBhungane and the Financial Mail launched an application earlier this week to access former president Jacob Zuma’s tax records and to challenge the constitutionality of tax secrecy provisions.
The application follows a process that began in February when the FM applied to the South African Revenue Service’s (Sars) under the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) for Zuma’s returns in the years 2010 to 2018, when he was head of state.
The FM’s initial request and a subsequent appeal were denied by Sars on grounds including secrecy provisions in PAIA and the Tax Administration Act (TAA).
Rajuili says: “The tax status of presidents and other holders of high office is of manifest public interest. The public may rightly ask, if the president does not pay his taxes or fails to disclose all income, why should they? The political capture and governance failures at Sars were to a large degree facilitated by the lack of public transparency at this important institution.”
“A vital part of rebuilding the integrity of Sars and improving tax morality is ensuring that investigative journalists and whistle-blowers have the right to access information and report on it, including how the tax authority handles the affairs of senior government officials,” she says.