Fourth time unlucky for businessman as Sars sticks to its guns over R237m

Gary van der Merwe and his daughter Candice have been evicted from their home after his fourth attempt to stave off a Sars bid to extract tax from him.
Gary van der Merwe and his daughter Candice have been evicted from their home after his fourth attempt to stave off a Sars bid to extract tax from him.
Image: Supplied

A Cape Town businessman, whose model daughter raised eyebrows after getting an unsolicited “gift” of $15.3m (about R237m) from an admirer, has been evicted from his home.

On February 5 2020, the Constitutional Court dismissed Gary van der Merwe’s application for leave to appeal an eviction order requiring him to vacate his home, which is held by the company Zonnekus Mansion (Pty) Ltd.

The court held that the application bore no reasonable prospect of success, the SA Revenue Service (Sars) said.

Van der Merwe had, in 2016, failed to convince the high court in Cape Town to place a company already under liquidation (Zonnekus Mansion), in which his mother was until recently the sole director, under business rescue.

Judge Patrick Gamble had ruled that Van der Merwe‚ his 23-year-old daughter Candice and 75-year-old mother, Fern Jean Cameron, be prevented from any further attempts to place the company under business rescue without the permission of a senior duty judge.

This was the fourth time  Van der Merwe had tried to have the firm placed into business rescue‚ a tactic viewed by the court as trying to frustrate the liquidators rather than restoring the company to solvency.

"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 to recover the outstanding tax debt," said Sars spokesperson Sandile Memela.

He said the Sars investigation stemmed from a Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) report regarding  a suspicious transaction involving $15m.

Sars commissioner Edward Kieswetter praised the litigation team for their "sterling" work in the "drawn-out" matter.

“While the organisation 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 organisation will continue to confront  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 in the land,” Kieswetter said.

“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 a social security safety net for old age pensioners and child grants as well as provision of housing and education, among others."

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