Afro-soul singer Bulelwa Mkutukana, best known by her stage name Zahara could face jail time after a warrant for her arrest was issued on Friday.
The warrant was issued by the Johannesburg Commercial Crimes Court sitting in Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court after she failed to show up to answer to a charge of failing to submit her personal tax returns.
The Umthwalo Wam hitmaker was charged by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) early this year for contravening South African tax laws for failing to submit her personal tax returns for 2017 and 2018 to the South African Revenue Service (Sars).
She appeared in the same court last month and the matter was postponed to Friday last week where she was supposed to plead to the charge and possibly begin the trial.
But the Phendula singer cocked a snook at the court when she failed to appear for apparently no plausible reason and as a result, a warrant for her arrest was immediately issued. But its execution was stayed until Wednesday, October 27.
NPA South Gauteng spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane confirmed that a warrant of arrest had been issued against the Loliwe crooner.
“We can confirm that a warrant of arrest has been issued for Bulelwa “Zahara” Mtukukana for her failure to appear in the Johannesburg Commercial Crimes Court sitting in Palm Ridge on her charge of failing to submit her personal tax returns. But it was held over until Wednesday October 27,” she said.
The warrant of arrest was issued a month after the songstress recorded her second criminal record after paying an admission of guilt fine of R2 000 for failing to submit her company Zahara Army’s income tax returns after pleading guilty to the charges.
She paid the fine when she appeared in the same court after the NPA charged her in her capacity as the director of her company, Zahara Army Projects (Pty) Ltd, for failing to submit company tax returns for 2017 and 2018 to Sars.
After paying the fine, the case was removed from the court roll.
Mjonondwana said the NPA welcomed the outcome of the case involving her failure to submit her company’s tax returns as that would send a strong message to would-be tax dodgers that no one was immune from tax compliance and that all people were equal before the law.
Zahara recorded her first criminal record when she paid a R1 500 guilt fine for failing to appear in the same court for the same case in June.
This after the court gave her an option to pay the quantum or spend three months in jail after finding her guilty of contempt of court.
The musician, whose career has taken a nosedive and has been struggling to pay her bills, handed herself over to the police after a warrant of arrest was issued in April against her. – SW