POET UNDER PRESSURE: MZWAKHE MBULI’S TAX WOES
The dreams of Mzwakhe Mbuli, “the people’s poet”, of getting relief funding from government during the national lockdown turned into a nightmare when he received a final letter of demand for R354 487.59 from the SA Revenue Service (Sars).
Mbuli, in turn, is trying to squeeze the ANC for more than R700 000, which he claims the organisation has owed him since 2010.
The Resistance is Defence hitmaker says he is flabbergasted by the letter of demand – which City Press has seen – that states that he has failed to pay his tax debt “for one or more tax year(s) and/or tax period(s)”.
He insists that it is not his fault that he owes Sars so much money, as he has not earned an income for a very long time. He says that he wrote Sars an affidavit to this effect and also submitted his bank statements to show that he had received no income.
Mbuli adds that Universal Music also sent an official statement to the revenue office, confirming that he had not earned royalties since 2008 because he was still repaying a loan the record company granted him to pay another Sars debt of R1.2 million back then.
The letter from Sars reads in part: “You are requested to make full payment within 10 business days from the date of this letter of demand. You may [also] within 10 business days from the date of this letter of demand apply for the following remedy: payment in instalments if you are unable to pay the full amount.”
Sars also threatened that failure to make full payment or arranging to pay in instalments could result in “a civil judgment being entered against you, in which case a warrant of execution may be issued for the Sheriff of the Court to attach and sell your assets”. But Mbuli says he will settle the amount owing to Sars as soon as the ANC pays him.
“I can pay in full and still have a bit left over to survive out of the R700 000 they owe me,” he said.
He says that, for the past 10 years, several ANC leaders have made empty promises to him to have his money paid by the party. These leaders have included the late Ignatius Jacobs and Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula.
He has continually communicated with the organisation, but nothing has come of his requests. He says he is planning to go to Luthuli House tomorrow to take up the issue with the ANC’s top six members.
It was reported two years ago that Mbuli had been commissioned to do several projects, including the party’s election campaigns, and to mobilise artists to release a CD in support of star athlete Caster Semenya in 2010. Semenya, who has hyperandrogenism (a genetic condition that elevates levels of testosterone in the body), has faced ongoing controversy over her eligibility to compete in global events.
The ANC and Sars had not responded to requests for comment by the time of going to press.