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Malema's sequestration helps creditors, says court

Genevieve Quintal

The sequestration of Julius Malema's estate will be to the advantage of his creditors, the high court in Pretoria has ruled.

EFF leader Julius Malema. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)

The sequestration of EFF leader Julius Malema's estate will be to the advantage of his creditors, the high court in Pretoria ruled on Monday.

Judge Bill Prinsloo said the Insolvency Act made specific provision that the South African Revenue Service (Sars) could institute sequestration proceedings against a person for their tax debt.

He ordered that Malema be provisionally sequestrated. "I am satisfied that the applicant [Sars] has established the requirements for the grant of a provisional sequestration," Prinsloo said in his judgment.

A draft order was signed and made an order of in court.

Reading the order into the record Prinsloo said: "The estate of the respondent [Malema] is placed in provisional sequestration."

Malema and anyone else who did not want the order to be made final had until 10am on May 26 to give reasons as to why this should not happen.

Malema's lawyer Tumi Mokoena said the sequestration was costly and unnecessary. "We find it very academic ... It was totally unnecessary and a waste of the taxpayers' money. Today, a sequestration runs into millions of rands, depending on the legal team you are choosing."

Political career
He said a final sequestration order would affect Malema's political career, as he would not be allowed to serve as a member of Parliament.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) said it "fully and firmly stands behind its commander-in-chief".

The party said the sequestration "remains part of a continuous onslaught to silence the agenda of economic freedom in our lifetime ... [and] ... seeks to disqualify the most vibrant and radical representative voice of the disadvantaged."

According to court documents, Malema owed R16-million, plus interest, after failing to submit tax returns between 2006 and 2010.

In 2010 Sars contacted Malema about his failure to submit tax returns.

It took Malema 18 months, after many attempts by Sars, to file his outstanding returns. Malema also failed to register the Ratanang Trust for tax purposes, and Sars had to do this on his behalf.

Sars attached some of Malema's property to recoup the taxes he owed.

Admission of liability
Earlier on Monday, Malema's legal team brought an application asking for the sequestration matter to be postponed because he wanted to have an admission of liability, which he signed last year during negotiations with Sars.

He wanted the matter postponed pending the finalisation of his corruption case. Prinsloo dismissed the application and went directly into reading his judgment.

He said Malema's lawyers arriving with an application for postponement was nothing but a "delaying tactic and abuse of the system".

Prinsloo said the court should not tolerate this. Sars opposed the application for a postponement, also accusing Malema's legal team of trying to delay the matter.

EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said Malema will challenge the provisional sequestration before May 26, "and if not successful, we shall appeal the decision until the highest court of the land". – Sapa, staff reporter

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