South Africa’s embattled president Jacob Zuma finds himself having to deny fresh claims of misconduct after the Sunday Times published an extract from a book which “gives an insight” into what has kept him in power.
In the book, The President’s Keeper, written by renowned investigative journalist Jacques Pauw, it’s said that, among many other shady dealings, the President successfully evaded tax during the entirety of his first term in office.
“Once Jacob Zuma ascended to the highest office on 6 May 2009, one hoped he would change his ways and obey the laws of the land. He didn’t, and failed to submit a tax return for his first year in office. This was no exception. He didn’t submit a tax return for the second year, either. Or the third or the fourth.” – Pauw writes. “By 2011, the VIP Taxpayer Unit was again begging the president to get his tax affairs in order. At the time, this unit reported directly to Ivan Pillay, who was concerned that Zuma’s non-compliance would create political fallout and cause people to pitch the South African Revenue Service against the president.”
According to Pauw, Zuma did not submit his tax returns due to the millions owed to the taxman from fringe benefits accruing from the Nkandla upgrades.
The Presidency has since refuted the claims, saying the President has compiled with tax laws and that his “tax matters are in order”.
“President Zuma has declared to the relevant authorities all income received and allegations contained in the reports are misleading and are clearly part of the ongoing smear campaigns.”- the statement reads. “The tax matters of the President are in order… The President has also not received any information related to taxes linked to the Nkandla upgrades.”