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The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has filed papers in the Western Cape High Court against investigative journalist Jacques Pauw saying that he published confidential information in his book The President’s Keepers.
SARS commissioner Tom Moyane argued in his affidavit that Pauw revealed in his book taxpayers’ information, which was in contravention of the Tax Administration Act.
Moyane also asked that Pauw pay the costs of the case, should he oppose SARS’ application. “Such declaratory orders are imperative in order to give confidence to the public knowing that taxpayer information would not be willy-nilly disclosed by third parties who have no authority to be in possession of such information and to disclose it without consequences,” Moyane said.The papers were not served on NB Publishers, but the publisher said it would be defending the application in the new year. NB Publishers, however, said it believes that by bringing the application, SARS has “conceded the truth of the parts in the book it names in the application”.
“We are proud to say we will defend our author and the book vigorously against Mr Moyane’s application because there is clear and compelling public interest in The President’s Keepers revealing that President Jacob Zuma has perverted the law enforcement agencies of this country to hide the fact that he is not tax compliant and that he received a salary from Roy Moodley’s company while in office.”
After the book was launched in October, the State Security Agency sent two cease and desist letters to the publishers, to get the book withdrawn from the shelves.
The book is currently still being distributed.