This after the two publications turned to the judiciary to expose Zuma’s tax compliance during his tenure as head of state.
The allegations come from Jacques Pauw’s explosive book “The President’s Keepers”.
The book, published in 2017, also contained scathing allegations about Zuma’s connection to the infamous Gupta family and Russian tobacco bosses, as well as the appointment of Sars Commissioner Tom Moyane to hide Zuma’s alleged non-compliance.
Based on these allegations, the two media houses argued that there was “credible evidence” pointing to Zuma’s tax evasion.
Sars turned down the motion, while the 79-year-old politician stayed away from the trial.
“The resistance of SARS to the requested legal remedy is based on the purpose and importance of tax secrecy,” said the court files on Tuesday.
“SARS also argued that the obligation of a taxpayer to make an inconspicuous and truthful disclosure when applying the provisions of Sections 57 and 72 deprives a taxpayer of the privilege of incriminating himself, and that this is a weighty consideration in favor of the taxpayer of secrecy.”
Judge Norman Davis, however, found this argument inadequate and ruled that Sars should hand over Zuma’s tax records.
“The first defendant has to deliver the individual tax returns of the second defendant for the tax years 2010 to 2018 to the first and third party applicant within ten days of the order.
In addition, a cost order was placed.
“The costs of this motion are borne jointly and severally by the first, third and fourth defendants, with one paying the other for acquittal, including the costs of two legal counsel.”
Opening the books to public scrutiny is a groundbreaking verdict amid ongoing litigation.
Court documents show that care has been taken to strike a balance between protecting the taxpayer’s individual rights and the public interest.