Former President Jacob Zuma has backed Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane in her bid to have access to his tax records at the South African Revenue Service (SARS).
In a Twitter thread on Tuesday, Zuma made it clear that he has nothing to hide, insisting that Mkhwebane must be allowed to do her job.
He wrote, “I hear that my SARS records are being contested in court by [SARS Commissioner Edward] Kieswetter. No one has consulted me about this matter. Furthermore, I have been informed that the office requesting these records is the office of the @PublicProtector (PP) @AdvBMkhwebane.”
‘I’ve never refused Mkhwebane access’
The former President added, “I need to clarify that I have never refused the office of the PP access to investigate my affairs.”
He emphasised that even when he thought former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela “went beyond her mandate and powers” while investigating him, he “never refused nor hid anything.”
He said he is not part of the “contestation” between Mkhwebane and SARS over his tax records because he “respects the office of the PP.”
“It must be known that I have nothing to hide. If the @PublicProtector wants to see my SARS records she is free to do so. We should not make the job of the PP difficult. If she wants my records, she must have them,” Zuma concluded.
Mkhwebane vs SARS on Zuma’s tax records
Mkhwebane has been investigating a complaint laid by ex-Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane in November 2017.
Maimane wanted her to probe a risk of conflict of interest on Zuma’s part following allegations that he had received a salary from a private company in his first few months as state president.
Business Day reported that Mkhwebane had issued a subpoena to SARS in October to access Zuma’s tax records, but SARS insisted that the request contravened the Constitution.
SARS Commissioner Kieswetter subsequently approached the High Court in Pretoria to urgently stay the implementation of the subpoena.
According to legal journalist Karyn Maughan, if Zuma has formally given permission for Public Protector to access his tax records, “then there is no reason for SARS to withhold this information from the PP.”
SARS has not yet reacted to Zuma’s indication that he has no objections to the release of his tax records to Mkhwebane.