A Fighter’s Response to SARS the Leviathan
The decision by the South African Revenue Services to reveal the well-known details of my dealings with them as a response to my public utterances about the unethical conduct they displayed towards me is further proof of their increasing moral bankruptcy. All the information they revealed is not new to the public or even newsworthy, the fact that the details compare favourably with previously leaked information serves as proof that the leaking was by SARS. Otherwise, if it had been an invention of the press there would be contradictions. It is disappointing that instead of explaining the unethical conduct SARS has made this about my tax affairs.
It should be noted that this is SARS’ way of intimidating the public and any tax payer who will want to criticize them in future. This is precisely because they told themselves that they beyond reproach and sacrosanct, and that anyone who dares to criticize them will be intimidated into silence; that is, they will use the privileged information they have about such a person to silence him\her. Nevertheless, such an act of cowardice will never work with me.
I will fearlessly and without any fear of contradiction respond and correct the distortions that SARS has made regarding my dealings with them. I will show that they are merely furthering a political agenda against me, and to that extent, through their latest statement they have proved beyond any reasonable doubt that they are a branch of ZANC.
The history of my interaction with SARS started when the so called “intelligence dossier” was brought to my attention by an anonymous source whilst I was president of the ANCYL and we (in the ANCYL) then chose to expose it to the public. I then received a letter from SARS requesting my personal information relating to SARS matters immediately after releasing the dossier to the public. I interpreted this as an act of intimidation but gave it the benefit of doubt. Following this, a meeting was convened between me and SARS officials, in which my lawyer and accountant, the SARS commissioner and his deputy, with an additional staff member from SARS by the name of Van Loggernberg were present.
In this meeting, my personal tax matters were briefly discussed in the presence of all. My lawyer and accountant, together with Mr. Van Loggernberg were then requested by the Commissioner to excuse themselves from the meeting and an indication was given on their departure that Mr. Van Loggernberg will be helping us to resolve my issues. I then remained behind with the Commissioner and his deputy.
In this closed session between the three of us, the details of the “intelligence dossier” were discussed, and in what looked like their defence I was told that Mr. Jacob Zuma had a similar SARS problem and they helped him with it. Mr. Pillay in particular told me that he had helped Mr. Zuma and that to their disappointment Mr. Zuma took two years to resolve his problems, which even ran into his presidency of the republic.
It honestly puzzled me as to why senior SARS officials would discuss another taxpayer’s matters with me because it means they could do the same to me and that is unethical. Nevertheless, they both offered to help me with my tax matters because they have done it before with Mr. Zuma and other comrades. Mr. Pillay added that they would do this also because both of them are comrades and that he in particular was from exile.
We then agreed that I must join my lawyer, my Accountant and Mr. Van Loggernberg who would then take the mater forward, which I did. Mr. Van Loggernberg also invited a second employee – a white lady whose name I can’t recall. It was then agreed in that meeting that within a month I should have made submissions of my tax returns. The lady in question was to then help my accountant in that regard.
It is therefore noteworthy that if SARS is on an honest route of revealing my engagements with them they should also reveal this closed meeting with the Commissioner and his deputy in which we had this private conversation. But SARS is not interested in an open and honest deliberation about my engagements with them expressly demonstrated by their deliberate omission of these details and I challenge them to do so.
Following this meeting, my personal tax income returns were filed and payment was made to that effect. When attempts were made to pay for the Trust, we were told we could not pay as the Trust was under investigation. This is therefore what caused delays, even when the personal tax matter had been settled. It is worth noting that the R16m assessment in question is not regarding my personal income, but that of the Trust. However, they would insist that they can’t charge the Trust directly as the assessment is taxable in my own hands.
There was never an attempt from me to restructure my assets so as to hide them from SARS. I have always been honest with SARS in disclosing my assets to them. This is a usual allegation which they have made for a long time, to the extent of establishing special inquiries where they investigated my close friends and relatives with an attempt to expose hidden assets, yet without success. In essence, to this day SARS found no evidence, even after spending millions of state resources, that I have hidden any asset from them.
I publicly challenge SARS to expose any hidden asset which they discovered during their expensive processes of investigation that have included spending large sums of money on inflated white legal teams and Afrikaner Senior Counsels amongst other things. I further challenge SARS to tell the public how much they have spent on these inquiries around my friends and family, including me. Also, how much they have recovered from all of this thus far, so that we can determine if there is value for money, or that they are just spending tax payers’ money to settle political differences and perpetuate racial hatred.
SARS has now established an enquiry with the same intent, and I want to categorically sate that there is no need to spend more government resources as they have taken everything I have; that is – all of my assets!
I must add that the ANCYL, following the appointment of ministers by President Jacob Zuma, raised a concern that the African leadership was not considered when appointing the economic cluster of cabinet, particularly in the Ministry of Finance. A matter Mr. Gordan took very personal and has since then used his power\influence over SARS to fight his political battles by manipulating the reputable institution of SARS. He is well known in the congress movement to be a very vindictive person. Even during his days in the UDF, Mr. Gordon belonged to an Indian cabal that often destroyed comrades who disagreed with them.
However and unfortunately, the debate about African representation in the economic cluster of the cabinet got reduced between ANCYL and Mr. Gordan. I particularly remember a meeting between the ANCYL and the ANC where Mr. Zuma tried to explain the appointment of the economic cluster, and the whole discussion got reduced to one appointment – that of Mr. Gordon. Mr. Zuma also indicated that he did not know Mr. Gordon very well, except that he used to belong to an Indian cabal during the days of the UDF.
It was then clear to me, to our disappointment, that a political procedural matter got reduced to a personality. Mr. Gordon has therefore always had intention to make us pay back, and the fundamental differences in strategic vision of the movement that we in the ANCYL held, made him keen to participate in silencing us with the hope to delegitimise our course.
The letter requesting the suspension of payment written on the 13 June 2012 to allow further engagement is but an example of a willingness to resolve the matter on my part, even before the attainment of the warrant of execution which was only issued in October 2012. To therefore suggest that we started acting after seeing the execution order is misleading, to say the least. It should be noted that not going to the court was because deliberations with SARS top officials had created an impression that an amicable solution would be found and equally it had proven to be an expensive exercise to approach the courts.
The argument that one did not use options available to him, including going to court should not translate into the fact that one had accepted such findings. In essence, the principle is that not appealing decisions in the hierarchy of courts should not be taken as admission of guilt. For me, it meant I did not have resources to do so, but also hoped on the amicable resolution. Ultimately, I made an offer for settlement and a full and honest disclosure of assets. I must emphasise that to this day SARS has failed to explain what it means by my “failure to make an honest and full disclosure” of assets, to which they have insisted and dedicated resources to investigate, regardless of being met with failure.
I approached comrades who were willing to help me to make an offer of R5m to SARS on condition SARS was willing to settle. Coincidentally these were the same comrades that helped Mr. Zuma with his problems with SARS. These comrades indicated that I must even disclose their names to SARS, but SARS was unwilling to engage in such an arrangement.
I had a meeting with the Commissioner and his deputy earlier in October where they repeated their willingness to help; they also repeated, once more, that they had helped Mr. Zuma. However, this time, Mr. Oupa Magashula was very uncomfortable in talking about Mr. Zuma and made an attempt to put Mr. Zuma’s issue in a different context which will not be seen to be a special favour done to Mosholozi. However, his deputy continued with the same line of having helped Mr. Zuma because they are comrades and always willing to intervene. I indicated that I did not want a special treatment, it be negative or positive. That day, the Commissioner even made me sign a confidentiality form from SARS, but since there’s no confidentiality between me and them anymore I have opted not to respect that form.
We then agreed in that meeting that I should request a formal meeting with SARS which will formalise some of the agreements of our meeting, hence the meeting with SARS officials later in October. It is noteworthy that the “honest” SARS does not reveal this part when dealing with what they call “The history of Mr Malema’s interaction with SARS” and I challenge them to do so.
In the meeting with SARS officials I was told that they fully understand my financial difficulty and they were willing to help because the matter had dragged for far too long at that point. An understanding was reached that I should first accept the debt of R16m before and then I will be helped to get a compromise. This is because if I did not accept the debt of R16m, SARS would have not even entertained my request for that compromise.
I particularly remember SARS’ white Senior Counsel trying to caution them that they cannot speak like that on matters that have potential to go for litigation, but SARS officials insisted that this is how we are going to proceed. It was even agreed in that meeting that the letter of compromise will first, before being given to the compromise committee, be sent to them to check if it meets the standard requirements, such that in case it does not, they would help to redraft.
I was then asked to speak to Minister Mbalula and Mr Lebogo, the then Limpopo Provincial Secretary of the ANCYL, to refrain from publicly attacking SARS because they were making it difficult for the matter to be settled amicably. I was thanked in the same meeting for having not attacked SARS publicly and I accordingly and immediately spoke to these comrades after the meeting.
Following this meeting, it must be noted that I honoured my part of the bargain, i.e. accepted the R16m assessment (which I disputed throughout and still do to date), made an offer of compromise, spoke to the two comrades, Mbalula and Lebogo. But SARS has not done the same on their part. Once more, the “honest” SARS does not reveal this part when dealing with what they call “The history of Mr Malema’s interaction with SARS” and I challenge them to do so.
As per agreement, I wrote the compromise letter accepting the R16m assessment in a meeting with SARS Officials. That first letter had more pages and raised many issues including reminding them that they told me that SARS has handled matters like mine before including that of Jacob Zuma. And as promised they came back to me and said my letter raises many unnecessary issues. They said I should write a brief letter and gave advice on its structure. I then wrote a letter withdrawing the initial letter of compromise and then submitted a brief version as advised by SARS officials. Once again, SARS seems to be experiencing amnesia on this part, because they have deliberately omitted this interaction in their public statement. I challenge them to dispute it.
SARS promised to come back to me within 3 weeks, but the so called efficient SARS then came back to me in January i.e. in nearly three months after my submission. Coincidentally, it was after the City Press published a story about my farming activities and showed a picture very good looking cabbages on the Sunday after the ANC January 8, 2013 rally held in KZN.
This apparently angered the minister of finance, Mr Gordon, who then summoned the legal representatives of SARS and officials to his office and asked them as to what was Melema still doing in his farm because to his knowledge that farm was taken by SARS. Following that meeting, a letter of rejection of our offer of compromise was sent to us claiming that we have not done a “full and honest disclosure” something we are still waiting to hear its substantiation. SARS then started the execution of properties immediately.
To set matters straight, SARS is lying when saying that there was an African at some point who dealt with my matter. My matter with SARS was dealt with by an Afrikaner, from the first day I met with SARS, to the last. As indicated earlier, following my meeting with the Commissioner and his deputy I was then referred to Mr. Johan Van Loggenberg. After Mr. Van Leggenberh, we dealt with a certain L Van Esch, then later Mr. Pieter Engelbrecht who then referred us to their lawyer A Wessel. A Wessel then appointed a curator called Cloete Murray who appointed his attorney Wim Cilliers, who has now appointed a senior counsel Swart.
I am raising all these Afrikaner names to demonstrate that there is an Afrikaner institutionalised political and racist onslaught against me due to the views I hold about the direction of our country. In addition to this, Mr. Gordon’s and Mr. Pillay’s Indian clique took advantage of the situation and used it to settle political differences through manipulation of the noble institution in defence of their politically corrupt principal, Mr. Zuma, who has lost all moral legitimacy as a leader and citizen. We must not forget that SARS is, like all institutions of government, prone to corruption; and Mr. Oupa Magashula is a living example and case in point.
My activism against abuse of state institutions does not start now. Ironically I defended President Zuma when it was clear that state agencies, namely Scorpions and SARS were used against him by his political rivals. Needless to state the on-going fiasco around the so called Zuma tapes, this is a clear indication that my activism is not that of self-preservation, but a defence of our hard fought freedom and constitutionalism. We must never as citizens lay back and watch politicians reduce our glorious achievements to a shame state.
Finally, if SARS thinks it will use sequestration to delegitimise me politically, then they must think twice because I’m not obsessed with holding public office or being a director in any of the private or public institutions. Mine is an unmovable interest in the African Revolution; and for this to happen it does not need me to hold public office; it is about South Africans, Africans in particular reclaiming their dignity and total economic emancipation in our lifetime and with or without sequestration I shall fight until victory is attained SARS should know that I’m not one of the cowards they silenced before, I remain unshaken not even death can change my political views. Now or never victory is certain.
Yours in the struggle against abuse of state power,
Julius Sello Malema
Statement issued by Julius Malema, Commander-in-Chief of the Economic Freedom Fighters’, August 4 2013, on politicsweb.co.za