- AfriForum filed a PAIA application to seek access to the ANC’s tax records.
- The ANC reportedly owes SARS over R100 million.
- Paul Mashatile denied the debt, but admitted that, in the past, the party’s “tax compliance was not rigorous”.
Lobby group AfriForum wants access to the ANC’s tax records, dating back to 1994.
The organisation filed a Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) application with the South African Revenue Service (SARS) to demand to access the ANC’s tax records, citing suspicions of “preferential treatment”.
According to the Daily Maverick, the party owes SARS over R100 million in unpaid taxes, for employee tax and other charges.
- The tax records and returns for the ANC from the year 1994 to today;
- The full amount in arrears, if any, which is due and payable by the ANC to SARS;
- An indication of the steps taken by SARS to collect this outstanding amount from the ANC;
- If SARS has not yet taken formal steps, to provide reasons for the failure to do so; and
- Provide an indication of whether the ANC enjoys preferential treatment in tax collection matters and, if so, the legal and rational basis for such treatment.
AfriForum said it previously requested similar information, but failed in its bid.
“In September 2021, AfriForum sent a letter to Edward Kieswetter, SARS commissioner, requesting details regarding the R102 million owed to SARS by the ANC. No answer was received. Therefore, AfriForum is taking the next legal step,” AfriForum said.
ANC is not a tax evader
While admitting the ANC had a tax bill issue, the ANC’s treasurer-general, Paul Mashatile, said the party was not a tax evader.
The ANC has, in recent years, struggled to keep a check on its finances, with the party delaying in paying its staffers’ salaries on time.
Mashatile on Tuesday said the ANC had tax issues when he took over the office in 2017. He said the first thing he did was to approach SARS, to develop a payment plan.
In a statement issued on Monday, the ANC and Mashatile denied reports of owing SARS.
Mashatile said the ANC had made a payment to SARS in February.
He insisted the governing party was not a tax evader.
“Someone took information that was sent to the ANC treasurer by SARS last year. We are paying SARS. The last payment was on 28 February this year. Prior to 2018, we found a situation where tax compliance was not rigorous. I travelled to Brooklyn in Pretoria to meet with SARS to deal with those arrears. This issue that the ANC is a tax evader is not true,” Mashatile said in an interview with Talk Radio 702.
He was reluctant to blame his predecessors, Zweli Mkhize and Mathews Phosa, despite stating that the party had a relaxed approach to its tax affairs.
Mashatile called on SARS to be more vigilant in following up with non-compliant taxpayers.
The ANC had previously forfeited its political funding payouts from the Electoral Commission of SA to settle the millions it owed to SARS.