Malema the victor as Sars withdraws sequestration

2015-06-01 17:48
(Genevieve Quintal, News24)

(Genevieve Quintal, News24)

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EFF remains unshaken - Julius Malema

2015-06-01 17:07

Hundreds of EFF members gathered outside the High Court in Pretoria on Monday where leader Julius Malema addressed them. Watch. WATCH

Pretoria - EFF leader Julius Malema emerged victorious from the High Court in Pretoria on Monday after the SA Revenue Service dropped its bid to have him sequestrated.

After almost a full day of argument, advocate Nic Maritz, for Sars, returned from the lunch break at 16:00 and told Judge Gregory Wright his client had advised him the sequestration had been withdrawn.

Economic Freedom Fighters’ supporters in court cheered when the matter was withdrawn.

Malema was in court accompanied by his deputy president Floyd Shivambu, secretary general Godrich Gardee, national spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, other EFF MPs and provincial leaders.

Earlier, Maritz told the court Sars believed Malema was hiding assets, but he did not have documented proof.

"Sars has reason to believe there are other assets but doesn't know where they are."

He said Sars wanted to sequestrate Malema so it could look for other creditors because at present the revenue service did not have a mandate to search for assets.

When Wright asked for documents proving there were hidden assets, Maritz said there were no papers.

Wright spent most of Monday afternoon asking Maritz why Sars decided to sequestrate Malema after it reached a compromise with the firebrand leader to settle his tax debt. Wright said there were other mechanisms the Tax Administration Act made allowance for so as to recover tax debt.

"Between May 26 [2014] and today [Monday] has Mr Malema come by any other assets?" Wright asked, adding that between 2013 and now there was no evidence Malema had acquired new assets.

In May last year, Sars and Malema reached an agreement that he only had to pay a portion of the money he owed.

The deal collapsed in April this year, with Sars saying it wanted an additional R14m in interest and penalties from him, claiming his tax payments were from dubious sources.

Cheering supporters

Hundreds of people gathered outside the court on Monday wearing red EFF berets and overalls. As police kept watch, the crowds sang and danced up and down Madiba Street in the Pretoria CBD, closing off part of the street to motorists.

When Malema emerged from court, he told the cheering crowd, "I didn't do anything wrong. I would never steal from the poor."

Malema said he believed the attempt to sequestrate him was politically motivated, as was the criminal case against him being heard in Polokwane.

He said the criminal case had been postponed for a year because "they are still looking around" for evidence.

In that case, Malema and On-Point Engineering directors, Lesiba Gwangwa and Kagisho Dichabe, and two companies, On-Point Engineering and Gwama Properties, face charges of racketeering and 52 other counts, including fraud.

They are accused of misrepresenting themselves to the Limpopo roads and transport department, leading to a R52m contract being awarded to On-Point Engineering.

Malema thanked the EFF leaders and supporters, singling out Shivambu for praise and calling him his brother.

"We will take a bullet for each other. Our relationship is like that of Nelson Mandela and OR Tambo because only death can separate us," he told the crowd.

Malema thanked those who had collected money for the Julius Sello Malema Trust in an effort to repay some of his tax debt.

On Monday morning, advocate Dali Mpfou, who is also an EFF member, tried to intervene in the court matter on the trust's behalf. The EFF as a party also applied to intervene. Both applications were rejected because of their lateness.

Read more on:    eff  |  sars  |  julius malema

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