New curator in multi-million rand tax dispute is a ‘hired gun’, says Mpisane

Durban – The Durban High Court on Wednesday granted the appointment of a new curator to preserve the seized assets of multi-millionaire Durban couple Shauwn and S’bu Mpisane, despite Shauwn’s alleged attempts to delay the process.

Judge Jacqui Henriques, who granted the order, said she would give reasons for the decision at a later time. 

Cloete Murray will now take over curatorship of the Mpisane assets. He was last week appointed liquidator of facilities management company African Global Operations, formerly Bosasa, which has been linked to multiple acts of fraud and corruption through the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture.

While S’bu Mpisane did not oppose the matter, Shauwn did. The couple is divorcing.

Shauwn argued through her legal representative, Shane Dayal, that there was no urgency in appointing a new curator as the dispute between SARS and Strydom and Mudzusi had been ongoing since 2017.

Dayal described Cloete as a “hired gun” who was incapable of acting independently.

The former curators – Henk Strydom and Tshifhiwa  Mudzusi – were seeking to exit their obligation of preserving the Mpisane assets after claiming the South African Revenue Service (SARS) owed them more than R400 000. 

They were appointed as curators in November 2016 when SARS obtained court orders in both the Pretoria and Durban high courts to have the Mpisane’s personal and business assets attached. The assets would be used to recoup unpaid taxes, now estimated to be more than R141 million. Approximately R36-million of this amount is currently being disputed.

Dayal confirmed the dispute, claiming his client was due a refund for overpaying on PAYE and income tax.

In his founding affidavit, Strydom said the cost of retrieving the remotely located assets would be about R1.5 million and thereafter in the region of R200,000 a month for storage. He said because of the non-payment the curators had been unable to secure all the movable assets.

Both Strydom and SARS told the court the curators would walk away from maintaining the assets on  1 March,  which would leave the assets vulnerable to being disposed of by the Mpisanes and hamper the SARS investigation.

SARS did not oppose the matter, saying that it welcomed the exit of Strydom and Mudzusi, claiming the partners had not performed their duties.

The Mpisanes have been locked in a dispute with SARS over unpaid taxes dating back to 2008. Their main company, Zikhulise Cleaning Maintenance and Construction (Pty) Ltd, is currently under provisional liquidation while SARS has applied to have Shauwn sequestrated. 

The company and Mpisane assets will likely be auctioned off by SARS to recoup funds.

African News Agency (ANA)

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