Johannesburg – Sars and Julius Malema held an “off the record” meeting which both parties were required to treat as strictly confidential, according to a letter signed by the two parties in September last year.
In fact, the revenue collector and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader signed an agreement that prevented both from disclosing that a meeting had taken place.
Malema had requested the meeting, which took place at Sars’s headquarters in Pretoria.
Sars has denied that any meeting took place.
The denial came after Malema revealed that he had held a “secret” meeting with Sars similar to the revenue service’s meeting with President Jacob Zuma to help him get past his tax troubles.
The fired ANC Youth League leader went public about the September 11 meeting in an attempt to prove his claims that the revenue collector had been “unethical” and inconsistent in its dealings with various taxpayers.
According to the letter, seen by The Star, “Sars and JS Malema agree that the meeting to be held will be off the record, and both parties agree not to refer to the content of the meeting or the fact that it has been held, in future correspondence and/or litigation”.
Malema was also advised that Sars would not discuss the merits of his case. “Sars further advised that any representations that JS Malema would like to make in this regard should be made using legislation available to the taxpayer.”
Malema on Tuesday claimed the letter was proof that Sars had lied when it denied ever meeting him.
“We are not dealing with an honourable institution. They held a meeting with me, we agreed to keep it secret but now they have the courage to lie to the public that they never met me. Each time I met them I was discussing my case. What else will I meet Sars for?” he said.
Sars spokesman Adrian Lackay on Tuesday confirmed Sars had met with Malema last September, but denied the meeting was secret.
“It was a ‘without prejudice’ meeting, held while litigation continued. There has been a number of meetings between Mr Malema and Sars since 2009. This letter refers to one such meeting. Sars does not conduct ‘secret meetings’ with any taxpayer, as this taxpayer has alleged publicly,” Lackay said.
He added: “Like any other taxpayer, this taxpayer had the right to seek remedies from Sars after a tax dispute arose.”
Malema and Sars have exchanged harsh words since their public spat last month over his R16 million outstanding tax bill.
News of the “off the record” meeting comes a day after The Star reported that Sars was expected to conduct a sequestration hearing next month.
If a sequestration order is granted, Malema would not be able to represent EFF in Parliament or any state office.