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Malema apologises for failing to pay tax

The EFF leader used his statement to call on all South Africans to honour their tax obligations.

EFF leader Julius Malema has apologised for his failure to pay taxes and urged all South Africans to follow tax laws. Picture: AFP.

PRETORIA - Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema on Monday admitted to failing to meet his tax obligations.

He also apologised "unreservedly" for his conduct during his battle with the taxman.

Malema released a statement a short while ago revealing the details of a settlement reached with the South African Revenue Service (Sars).

He said the tax office accepted his offer of compromise in respect to his outstanding tax of more than R18 million.

The controversial politician incurred the debt after failing to submit returns between 2006 and 2010.

Malema also agreed to pay further amounts for 2011 and 2012 once his earnings for those years have been assessed.

The North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria this morning held a brief hearing on the matter and postponed the provisional sequestration after hearing news of the settlement.

Malema was not present but his attorney Tumi Mokwena and fellow EFF member Dali Mpofu appeared on his behalf.

In the statement, the EFF leader explained the deal was conditional on the grounds that he admitted to his infringements.

"I accept that I did not attend to my tax affairs in the manner that I was required to by law," he said.

"In certain instances, I left my financial affairs in the hands of others without making sure that my obligations were complied with. When my difficulty with Sars became public knowledge, I accepted and acted on advice from persons, which in hindsight, I should not have."

Malema also apologised for his conduct in dealing with Sars.

"Where I may have made public utterances that may have suggested bias or wrongdoing on the side of Sars, I unreservedly apologise."

Malema, who was recently sworn in as a Member of Parliament following his party's successful first election campaign, vowed to keep his affairs in order from now on.

"I have come to realise that the tax system of a country is a key pillar to economic growth and stability. I recognise that Sars as a revenue and customs agency plays a vital role in the building of our young democracy.

"Paying your tax is probably the most direct means by which those who are economically able, are afforded the opportunity to contribute towards those less fortunate in our society, through the funding of social grants and government development programmes."

He called on all South Africans, particularly public figures, to honour their tax obligations and to play their role in "building a better future for all".

Malema's provisional sequestration has been extended to 25 August.

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