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Zuma on taxman's radar over Nkandla upgrades

2014-04-04 17:18
Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma could face yet another probe into his R246m taxpayer funded home upgrades, this time from the taxman.

The DA said on Friday it was confident the South African Revenue Service (Sars) would investigate whether Zuma failed to pay tax on non-security related upgrades.

Under the tax law Zuma the work - including a helipad, swimming pool, amphitheatre, private clinic and visitors' centre - could be seen as fringe benefits.

Although it is not clear what that Zuma's tax liability might be, it is clear that the probe is yet another political liability for the president just weeks before the election.

The 71-year-old will seek a second five-year term on 7 May.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela recently reported that the additions were unlawful and called on Zuma to refund taxpayers.

He has refused to do that, saying he did not ask for the upgrades, and has indicated he will comment on the findings in full only after the election.

Sars refused to comment on whether a probe had been opened, saying it could not publicly disclose any information about individual taxpayers.

Responding to the DA's request for an investigation the authority said "the matter will be dealt with in the normal course of duties" - indicating Zuma would get no special treatment.

"Sars will not be drawn into politics," a spokesperson told AFP.

DA MP Tim Harris said he had "every confidence" Sars would treat the matter fairly.

"We are talking about a government entity that has proven itself to be not only rigorous but also independent," he told AFP.

"The income tax act is very clear, there is not really much margin for wiggle room, so I think it is a technical issue rather than a political one."

Zuma's spokesperson Mac Maharaj said any investigation "will be handled by Sars on a confidential basis".

Read more on: da  |  sars  |  thuli madonsela  |  tim harris  |  jacob zuma  |  johannesburg  |  nkandla upgrade

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