Tributes pour in for noted SA tax expert Matthew Lester

Cape Town - Tributes were pouring in this week for tax expert Matthew Lester.

Lester, who passed away on Monday shortly after being admitted to hospital for a chest infection, was widely acknowledged as one of the foremost tax experts in South Africa.

In a impassioned statement on Rhodes University's website, Rhodes Business School Professor Own Skae described Lester as “a larger than life character”.

“He was an extremely dedicated teacher, kind and generous. Notwithstanding the fact that he was one of South Africa's foremost tax experts, his gift was to explain this in the easiest of terms. Behind all of this was a man deeply committed to social justice.

“We will miss him in many ways, but most of all his ability to make us laugh,” he said.

BizNews founder Alec Hogg described Lester as "the chartered accountant turned tax prof...  who loved teaching young people about tax".

In his daily newsletter Hogg wrote: "I will desperately miss my larger-than-life friend from Kenton-on-Sea. The loyal pal who switched his popular Sunday Times tax column to Biznews as a show of support. The possessor of a brilliant mind, forthright opinions and font of creative business ideas who never learnt how to pull a punch. This St Johns old boy was a mensch. In every way possible. Rest in peace Matthew. Your nation is a heck of a lot poorer today."

Lester was, in July 2013, appointed by the Minister of Finance to the Davis Tax Committee to investigate the structure of aspects of the South African tax system. During this assignment, he chaired the sub-committees investigating the Small and Medium Enterprises sector and estate duty.

Lester also worked at a number of SA institutions, including the SA Revenue Service, accounting group BDO, as well as the department of accounting at Rhodes University, and at the Rhodes Business School.

At Rhodes Business school, he specialised in the fields of stewardship, governance, taxation and entrepreneurial law. 

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