SARS probe puts Jacob Zuma under the microscope
President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday gazetted extensive terms of reference for the probe into the South African Revenue Service (SARS)‚ which‚ among other things‚ requires that it look into whether politically influential people received special treatment in their tax affairs.
The clause is clearly aimed at‚ among others‚ former president Jacob Zuma‚ his family and business associates‚ against whom numerous allegations of tax evasion have been publicly levelled.
The terms of reference say the commission will look into whether SARS in its management of tax and customs settlements and audit case selection compromised its procedures by favouring or discriminating against "prominent influential persons" or their families and known close associates.
The commission will have to investigate whether the SARS leadership knowingly omitted to provide or withheld information that was necessary to ensure a fair and transparent investigation into allegations of malpractice. Also‚ whether it concealed or ignored criminal transgressions by resorting to "taxpayer confidentiality".
The inquiry will focus on the period between April 2014 and the end of March 2018‚ when Tom Moyane was at the helm.
It will be headed by former judge of the Supreme Court of Appeal Robert Nugent‚ assisted by tax lawyer and head of the Katz commission Michael Katz‚ advocate Mabongi Masilo and lawyer Vuyo Kahla.