Cape Town, Friday 28 February 2020 – South African Revenue Service (SARS) Commissioner Edward Kieswetter has welcomed the court victory against Mr Gary Van der Merwe and various entities he controls after a 10-year court battle which ended up in the Constitutional Court.
On 5 February 2020, the Constitutional Court of South Africa dismissed Mr Van der Merwe’s application for leave to appeal an eviction order requiring him to vacate his home, which is held by Zonnekus Mansion (Pty) Ltd. The court held that the application bore no reasonable prospect of success.
The Constitutional Court order paved the way for the liquidators of Zonnekus to finally take control of the last remaining asset of Zonnekus. The Sheriff has evicted Mr Van Der Merwe from the property and placed it under the control of the liquidators. The liquidators can now finally sell the remaining property in order to recover the outstanding tax debt.
The SARS investigation originated from a Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) report regarding a suspicious transaction, involving the amount of approximately $15-million (R142-million).
Commissioner Kieswetter praised the SARS litigation team for their sterling work in this drawn-out matter.
“While the organization is rebuilding the capacity that was deliberately destroyed over the years, there are women and men who retain the wherewithal to effectively manage large and complex legal matters. This court victory shows that despite the aforesaid obstacles, the organization will continue to confront the recalcitrant taxpayers.
“In this respect, SARS will make it costly for those who are determined to be non-compliant and will oppose vexatious and frivolous litigation up to the highest court of the land,” Kieswetter said.
He assured compliant taxpayers who want to do the right thing that SARS would do everything in its power to assist them to comply with their tax and customs obligations.
However, SARS would take a tough stand against wilfully defaulting taxpayers and bring them to book, no matter how big the challenge. Other recent court victories involving fraudulent VAT refunds also attest to this resolve on the part of SARS to deal with tax criminals. In all, more than 80 individuals have received lengthy jail terms for defrauding SARS.
Commissioner Kieswetter reiterated his earlier comments that- “tax crime, just like corruption, is not a victimless crime. It directly affects the poorest of the poor who are dependent on basic services including social security safety net for old age pensioners and child grants as well as provision of housing and education amongst others.
SARS is therefore determined to enforce the tax and customs laws of the country without fear or favour in a responsible manner when all other legal avenues have been exhausted. This victory confirms SARS’ unwavering commitment to out root any non-compliant behaviour”.