UPDATE: Mpisanes still ducking and diving

The clawback by SARS of R203 million in taxes from Durban’s Teflon Two is bumbling along as smoothly as a student protest. Court-appointed curators Pieter Strydom and Tshifhiwa Mudzusi say in an affidavit that S’bu and Shauwn Mpisane have gone to extraordinary lengths to obstruct them from managing the couple’s multiple businesses, which are in disarray.

It was reported in nose211 that the Mpisanes’ assets were attached in November, but the case – due to have been heard in March – was postponed indefinitely. Their assets were attached not only because of their tax bill but because SARS believed they were squirrelling away assets into a trust and front companies.

Strydom said there was often no explanation for how some areas of the businesses function, what their income or expenditure may be or details on contracts. Requests to view tender documents for an apparent R700m-bid to build  low-cost houses for the eThekwini Metro – on top of a R400m contract they  already have with the city – have been deemed “privileged” by the couple. 

Requested financial and operational information had not been forthcoming and the Mpisanes had failed “to follow and observe generally accepted principles in the conduct of their businesses and their affairs”. The curators said the Mpisane businesses lack proper corporate governance. “The manner in which they [the Mpisanes] seemingly conduct their businesses from a single ‘financial pot’ is, with respect, entirely untenable.”

The curators said there was “no hard evidence” that the Mpisanes’ claimed 2,500 employees even exist.

“It is realistic to believe that the couple will not be able to service this debt and could very well be declared insolvent,” the curators said.

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