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There are exceptions in law allowing PP to access taxpayer info, ConCourt told

The Interpretation of the Tax Administration Act of 2011 is being looked into by the court.

FILE: The Constitutional Court. Picture: EWN

CAPE TOWN - The Constitutional Court is on Thursday hearing arguments around whether Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane is allowed to obtain confidential taxpayer information.

The Interpretation of the Tax Administration Act of 2011 is being looked into by the court.

The High Court in Pretoria earlier this year ruled in favour of the South African Revenue Service (Sars), saying that the Public Protector’s subpoena powers did not extend to taxpayer records.

The case related to the tax records of former President Jacob Zuma, which Mkhwebane wanted as part of her office’s probe into claims that he received suspicious payments from a company connected to a businessman.

Representing the Public Protector, Advocate Dali Mpofu, argued that the protection offered to taxpayers is not absolute.

“We’ve said that there about 15 exceptions. Even that is an understatement because, as I’ve said, those exceptions for example might be found by the court, are limitless and you can’t put a number to it. So, it is not absolute. That is a statement of fact which is undeniable that the prohibition is not absolute,” Mpofu said.

Zuma has said in the past that Mkhwebane could scrutinise his tax affairs as he had nothing to hide.

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