NEWS & ANALYSIS

Did Zuma pay fringe benefits tax on Supra’s R1,5m cattle gift? – Alf Lees

DA MP says he will be writing to SARS to request an update any investigation into ex-President’s tax liabilities

Fringe tax benefits accrued to Zuma should include R1.5m herd of cattle from Supra

The DA has written to the Acting SARS Commissioner, Mark Kingon, to request an update on whether SARS is indeed investigating the liability by former President Jacob Zuma to pay tax on the State-funded fringe benefits that have accrued to him.

This follows reports over the weekend, that North West Premier, Supra Mahumapelo, handed Zuma R1.5 million of prime cattle in 2016, using public funds. If these reports are true, this may be yet another fringe benefit that accrued to Zuma during his disastrous term as president and requires an urgent forensic investigation by SARS.

To this end, the DA has requested that Kingon confirms whether:

A full lifestyle audit of Jacob Zuma, as well as a forensic investigation into his tax affairs, have been or will be undertaken;

The State-funded Nkandla fringe benefits have been determined in terms of tax laws and precedents, not on the basis of the R 7.8 million payment made by Zuma;

Jacob Zuma has paid any taxes due by him on the Nkandla fringe benefits;

SARS will investigate any fringe benefits tax payable or other taxable income inferences on the R1.5 million State-funded cattle handed to Zuma; and

All other taxable income alleged to have accrued to Zuma, such as the alleged after-tax salary of R1 million per month paid to him by Royal Security, have been included in his taxable income.

It seems clear that Jacob Zuma would not, without a benefactor such as the Guptas, have the means to pay the fringe benefits tax on the upgrades to his Nkandla palace. It is also highly unlikely that the now discredited VBS Mutual Bank, which lent Zuma the R7.8 million he was ordered to pay back to the State for non-security upgrades, would be able to find the R63 million to pay the fringe benefits tax. That said, there is apparently R 900 million missing from VBS Mutual Bank and a payment to Jacob Zuma may well be found to be a part of these “missing” VBS bank funds.

The DA has repeatedly raised the question of the estimated R63 million fringe benefits tax and interest payable by Zuma on the State sponsored upgrades to his palatial Nkandla residence. The President’s Keepers, the book authored by Jacques Pauw, indicated that the DA calculations of fringe benefits tax on Nkandla of R63 million were confirmed by a SARS team.

The now-suspended SARS commissioner, Tom Moyane, persistently refused to even confirm whether or not SARS had taken the Nkandla upgrades into consideration as possible fringe benefits.

The DA trusts that the SARS Commissioner will agree to our request as a matter of urgency and will be able to provide the public with an update on the status of Jacob Zuma’s chequered tax affairs.

Issued by Alf Lees MP, DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Finance, 23 April 2018