Sars now guns for Mzwakhe

Poet says he does not run the in­debted trust

Sunday World - - Front Page - By Aubrey Mothombeni moth­ombe­nia@sun­day­world.co.za

Pop­u­lar poet and ac­tivist Mzwakhe Mbuli is em­broiled in a le­gal dis­pute with Sars over a R700 000 tax bill al­legedly owed by a trust he is lead­ing.

The tax­man filed pa­pers in the South Gaut­eng High Court in Jo­han­nes­burg last week seek­ing an or­der against Mzansi Po­etry Academy Trust and its trustee Mzwakhe Isaac Mbuli, stat­ing that the en­tity failed to pay tax on its em­ploy­ees’ salaries, known as PAYE (pay as you earn).

Sun­day World can re­veal that Mbuli was served with a let­ter of de­mand at his Joburg home in July and asked to set­tle the bill or face the might of the re­ceiver.

Ac­cord­ing to the let­ter, dis­patched from the Sun­ninghill branch of Sars dated July 25, the academy, es­tab­lished in Mbuli’s hon­our, and led by him as chair­per­son, owes Sars an amount of more than R726 000. The pa­pers show that Mbuli and the academy were given 10 days to set­tle the amount or face le­gal ac­tion.

Mbuli told Sun­day World this week that he was sur­prised by the re­ceiver’s ap­pli­ca­tion and the in­clu­sion of his name on the mat­ter, stat­ing that he had not ben­e­fited fi­nan­cially from the academy.

“I have been read­ing sto­ries about Sars go­ing for other celebri­ties in the me­dia but I did not know that I was also on the list. All I can say is that the academy is run full­time by Peter Mbuli as CEO, and if Sars has gone to court, it would mean that he has not been pay­ing taxes,” he said.

The con­tro­ver­sial poet, who re­cently lam­basted the Con­sti­tu­tional Court judg­ment on the le­gal­i­sa­tion of dagga, said he does not re­call re­ceiv­ing let­ters of de­mand from the tax­man.

“If I had re­ceived the let­ters I would have con­sulted with my lawyers and urged them to make ar­range­ments to set­tle the debt,” he said.

Peter con­firmed that the en­tity owed Sars money. “We have been pay­ing tax and

I have been read­ing sto­ries about Sars go­ing for other celebri­ties in the me­dia but I did not know that I was also on the list

the only time we didn’t pay was last year be­cause we did not have money.

“We are still wait­ing for money from our fun­der, the depart­ment of arts and cul­ture. We will re­solve the mat­ter as soon as we re­ceive the tranche from the depart­ment. At the mo­ment there’s no money to pay tax,” said Peter.

He also said that Sars sent the let­ter of de­mand to Mbuli’s house be­cause he had used his home ad­dress when reg­is­ter­ing the academy.

“I have also in­formed Mzwakhe Mbuli that we in­deed owe Sars money for tax be­cause he is the chair­per­son of the academy,” Peter said.

Sars spokesper­son Sandile Memela said: “Sars is not in a po­si­tion to di­vulge spe­cific in­for­ma­tion and de­tails on the af­fairs of tax­pay­ers. Sars is bound by chap­ter 6 of the Tax Ad­min­is­tra­tion Act, 2011, deal­ing with con­fi­den­tial­ity of in­for­ma­tion, and more specif­i­cally sec­tion 69 of the act, which pro­vides for the se­crecy of tax­payer in­for­ma­tion. This in­cludes in­ves­ti­ga­tions into tax­pay­ers or traders.”

/ AN­TO­NIO MUCHAVE

The Peo­ple’s Poet Mzwakhe Mbuli dis­putes that he owes the tax­man over R700k.

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