President Cyril Ramaphosa is tax compliant, says Sars

The South African Revenue Service (Sars) on Tuesday confirmed that President Cyril Ramaphosa and officers at his Ntaba Nyoni cattle farm are tax compliant.

This follows Ramaphosa consenting to Sars making his tax status public.

Read: Sars finds no record of Phala Phala buyer’s $600k

“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,” it said in a statement.

Phala Phala scandal

Ramaphosa’s tax compliance status triggered public interest last year, following news of the discovery of foreign currency at his Phala Phala farm. The funds, to the tune of $580 000 were found, from proceeds of a sale that occurred in December 2019, involving a Sudanese businessman, Hazim Mustafa.

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,” Sars noted in its statement on Tuesday.

Without express written consent from a taxpayer, and the public officers of Ntaba Nyoni, Sars is restricted by law from making the statement it said, following the tax agency receiving written consent.

“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,” Sars pointed out.

Exceptional step

Sars Commissioner Edward Kieswetter said while he has never been approached by the president about any requests related to his personal business entities, the decision to disclose his tax status is an “exceptional step”.

“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,” he said.

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

In terms of the TAA, Sars said it may select a person for inspection, verification, or audit, it clarified. This would be based on any consideration relevant for the proper administration of a tax act, which may also include a random or a risk assessment basis.

“Through its staff and advisors, the taxpayers have always cooperated fully with Sars during the audits and there has been no interference or resistance from the taxpayers, their staff, or any other party,” the tax agency stressed.

Sars’s statement days after it responded to a Promotion of Access to Information Act (Paia) request brought to it by the leader of the Democratic Alliance (DA), John Steenhuisen, who quizzed the tax agency on whether Mustafa had declared excess foreign currency upon entering South Africa in December of 2019.

The search found no record of declared funds by Mustafa, Sars said on Monday.