Actress Sonia Mbele failed to appear in court this week to face tax evasion charges related to her company Real Housewives of South Africa Productions.
Mbele, along with co-directors Yolisa Gqunta and Rebone Sesing, are accused of not submitting tax returns or paying employee taxes to the South African Revenue Service from 2019 to 2022. This includes income tax, VAT and PAYE.
The National Prosecuting Authority said in a statement: “ The directors in relation to their company, Real Housewives of South Africa are facing 42 counts of not filling company income tax from 2019 to 2022, not filing their Value Added Tax (VAT) returns from 2020 to 2022 and also not filing their Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE) from 2020 until 2022."
The trio were expected to answer to 42 counts of contravening the Tax Administration Act in Johannesburg Magistrate's Court on Wednesday. However, Mbele did not show up.
Through her lawyer, she submitted a medical certificate to excuse her absence, claiming illness. But the magistrate rejected the note as insufficient proof.
Meanwhile, Gqunta and Sesing applied for legal aid representation, though a determination on their eligibility is still pending. The pair told the court they were not on speaking terms with Mbele and did not know her whereabouts.
Tax evasion is a serious offense that denies the government funds for public services. Sars aims to enforce compliance through prosecution of willful defaulters.
The case was postponed until October 5th, with a warrant of arrest held against Mbele should she fail to appear again. This development threatens further damage to her public image and career.
The fallout also raises questions around transparency and accountability within Mbele's company as the legal process moves forward. Her no-show did little to dispel suspicions of wrongdoing.