FAQs: SAIT vs The Tax Faculty

Updated: 18 April 2024

FAQs: SAIT vs Tax Faculty 

The Tax Faculty NPC, its directorate, and The Tax Faculty alumni are compelled in solidarity to challenge the maliciously distorted version of events presented by SAIT CEO Mr. Keith Engel's smear campaign of misinformation. In the face of these baseless accusations circulated by Engel to the media, we are compelled to set the record straight. The following FAQ's provide factual evidence that exposes the truth behind Mr. Engel's claims and reveals the devastating impact of his actions on our students, staff, and alumni. 

This page is regularly updated in response to questions received from stakeholders and the media and should be read in the context of the disclaimer set out at the end of this page.

Did SAIT transfer the "entirety of its CPD activities" to The Tax Faculty when it was established? 

In an affidavit deposed by Mr. Keith Engel on 22 December 2021 and handed to the Pretoria High Court (see paragraph 13.3.5 on page 15 here), he testified that SAIT transferred the entirety of its CPD activities of approximately R11,6m to The Tax Faculty. This allegation deposed by Mr. Engel is patently false, as demonstrated by the irrefutable evidence provided in the files linked below:

1. The erstwhile for-profit company, Tax Faculty (Proprietary) Limited ("TTF"), was incorporated on 9 December 2015, and became operational in January 2016.

2. The TTF audited Annual Financial Statements for the year ended on 31 December 2016 disclosed CPD lifelong learning revenue of R3 284 548. Refer to the detailed income statement of TTF (see page 24 here).

3. The SAIT audited Annual Financial Statements signed off by Mr. Engel [personally] for the year ended on 31 December 2016 clearly disclosed CPD revenue of R8 644 060 (2015: R11 655 530). Refer to the disclosure in the detailed income statement of SAIT (see page 31 here).

Having regard to the facts and evidence, it is evident that Mr. Engel perjured himself. 

What is the truth behind Mr. Keith Engel’s accusations that the SAIT’s letter of accreditation had never been issued to The Tax Faculty?

This is another example of Mr. Engel's false accusations, made in an effort to justify the unwarranted notice he caused to be placed on the SAIT website on 14 September 2021, which stated that CPD obtained through The Tax Faculty would no longer be accepted by SAIT, effective 1 October 2021. 

Dr. Klue reported this conduct of Mr. Engel to the SAIT board of directors on 14 September 2021. In response, Mr. Engel admitted in his reply on 17 September 2021, that he was aware of the 2018 CPD accreditation granted by SAIT to The Tax Faculty; however, he resorted to justifying his irrational decision by making deceptive and false statements against Dr. Klue to sidestep and deflect accountability for himself.

Three days later, Mr. Engel launched SAIT's "first ever" in-house CPD subscription service as a competing CPD offering to The Tax Faculty. However, by 2023, this paid-for CPD subscription service developed by Mr. Engel proved to be a failure and was terminated in 2023.

As a result of Mr. Engel's unjust decision to withdraw the 2018 CPD accreditation, The Tax Faculty was forced to approach the High Court on an urgent basis in October 2021 to review and set aside his irrational actions and prevent the devastating impact on SAIT members who relied on The Tax Faculty for their crucial CPD training. During court proceedings, Mr. Engel attempted to substantiate his baseless allegations against The Tax Faculty by relying on a confirmatory affidavit filed by Ms. Caretha Laubscher, SAIT's former Head of Education, now employed as a senior manager with the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA). In her affidavit, Ms. Laubscher shockingly corroborated Mr. Engel's false statements, claiming that she had prepared a draft version of the accreditation letter under duress and that it was never signed or sent to The Tax Faculty.

However, The Tax Faculty has proof that the following key facts were intentionally withheld by Mr. Engel and/or falsely claimed:

  • Mr. Engel intentionally withheld vital email correspondence concerning the involvement of Ms. Michelle Landman, the SAIT COO, endorsing The Tax Faculty’s accreditation process and correcting Ms. Laubser’s misreading of the SAIT accreditation policy. Click here to view the email correspondence, and click here to view The Tax Faculty application letter.
  • The vital email (click here) from Ms. Caretha Laubscher, which transmitted the accreditation letter (click here) to The Tax Faculty, was withheld in evidence, insinuating that The Tax Faculty may have fraudulently created the accreditation letter.

During the court proceedings, SAIT's counsel argued that the court is bound to accept the version of events put forth by Mr. Engel and Ms. Laubscher, citing the 'Plascon-Evans rule.' This legal principle stipulates that in motion proceedings, where factual disputes arise, relief should only be granted if the facts presented by the respondent (SAIT), along with the admitted facts in the applicant's (The Tax Faculty) affidavits, justify the order sought by the applicant. Consequently, the application brought by The Tax Faculty was dismissed based on this procedural principle.

After the judgement was handed down in the matter, The Tax Faculty board was deeply concerned about the fact that the court was misled by false testimony and relied on it based on a procedural principle. Consequently, The Tax Faculty board resolved to appoint an independent forensic firm to investigate the authenticity of the evidence placed before the court (i.e., the accreditation approval email and letter). The mandate of BDO forensics provided for SAIT to participate in the forensic investigation. SAIT, represented by Mr. Engel and Mr. Chris van Dyk, attended an initial meeting with BDO Forensics but thereafter resorted to dilatory tactics and ultimately refused to participate in the forensic investigation.

As expected, the forensic evidence revealed that The Tax Faculty did not falsify the accreditation letter or email. Both investigations concluded that the email with the accreditation letter attached was sent to The Tax Faculty from Ms. Caretha Laubscher's SAIT email address. Consequently, The Tax Faculty has laid a charge of perjury at SAPS Brooklyn (CAS 687/2/2023) against Ms. Laubscher, as the forensic evidence uncovered by BDO and TCG Digital Forensics directly contradicted her sworn affidavit. The Tax Faculty instituted a civil claim of R2,059,907 in an effort to recoup damages from Ms. Laubscher, now employed by the Financial Sector Conduct Authority ("FSCA") as a senior manager.

In what appears to be a cunning attempt to avoid accountability, Ms. Laubscher is now being put forward by Mr. Engel for appointment to The Tax Faculty's board of directors, along with her attorney, Mr. Chris van Dyk and Mr. Jerry Botha. This move seems calculated to manipulate the withdrawal of the criminal charges and the abandonment of the civil claim against Ms. Laubscher.

Note: SAIT is using member fees to fund the criminal defence of Ms. Laubscher.

Mr. Engel has accused Dr. Klue of acting outside his authority with regard to the 2018 Tax Faculty accreditation and of using his position as a member of the SAIT Exco to benefit the Tax Faculty. Mr. Engel also claims that, as the SAIT CEO, he was not properly informed of the 2018 accreditation granted to The Tax Faculty. Are these accusations justified? 

No, these are not merely opportunistic accusations; they are devious and calculated attempts by Mr. Engel to avoid accountability by claiming plausible deniability, with no justification in law or fact. Here are several factual reasons why:

1. Dr. Klue's recusal from SAIT Exco 

Dr. Klue, in his capacity as a member of the SAIT Exco during the period 2016 and 2020, consistently and deliberately recused himself from all SAIT Exco matters involving the SAIT education function. Dr. Klue also did not participate in SAIT education committee meetings during this period. This was done precisely to avoid any real or perceived conflict of interest, given The Tax Faculty's function as a Skills Development Provider and SAIT's function as the Assessment Quality Partner for the tax occupational qualifications. Dr. Klue cannot be fairly blamed for any deviations, if any, from the SAIT policies.

2. SAIT CEO's fiduciary responsibility

Mr. Engel assumed office and the role as the SAIT CEO effective 1 January 2016. In this capacity, Mr. Engel had a clear fiduciary responsibility to be intimately involved and apprised of the SAIT institutional delegation of authority. Furthermore, Mr. Engel, as the SAIT CEO, had a fiduciary responsibility to be informed about significant agreements and accreditations involving SAIT. If he was not properly apprised or remiss in his duties as SAIT CEO, he only has himself to blame. Mr. Engel's cunning attempt in 2021 to shift blame to Dr. Klue is mischievious and grossly dishonest, especially in light of his personal knowledge as the chairperson of the SAIT Exco, knowing that Dr. Klue consistently recused himself from SAIT governance processes involving its education department.

3. Observer role

Mr. Engel's position as an observer on the Tax Faculty board during the period 2016 and 2020 placed him in a position where he had a direct and clear line of sight and access to information about the Tax Faculty's activities and agreements with SAIT. This further undermines his opportunistic claim and devious attempt to shift blame to Dr. Klue.

4. SAIT accreditation irregularities

If the 2018 CPD accreditation granted to The Tax Faculty was irregular and deviated from standard accreditation policy, as Mr. Engel alleged in his email including the SAIT board dated 17 September 2021, it would be proper governance and reasonable to expect that such an important matter would have been brought to the CEO's attention for review and also required approval by the SAIT education committee.

In a circular dated 14 February 2024, as well as in a subsequent media release, Mr. Keith Engel has made false allegations against The Tax Faculty board of directors. What is the underlying motive behind Mr. Engel's actions?

It is evident that Mr. Engel failed in his dubious quest—which started three years ago—to foreclose The Tax Faculty. To this end, Mr. Engel has actively and repeatedly lodged complaints against The Tax Faculty NPC since May 2021 with various government institutions, including the South African Qualifications Authority ("SAQA"), Department of Higher Education ("DHET"), Quality Council for Trades and Occupations ("QCTO"), Fasset Seta, and the South African Revenue Services ("SARS"). In response to these complaints and a warning letter from DHET, The Tax Faculty promptly appointed senior legal counsel to investigate the allegations.

During this investigation, it was discovered that Mr. Engel had perjured himself in an affidavit dated 22 December 2021. In his affidavit (see paragraphs 21.13 - 21.15, page 27), Mr. Engel stated under oath that The Tax Faculty illegally used the word "Diploma" for tax occupational qualifications. However, an independent senior counsel established that Engel/SAIT had, in fact, adopted the new occupational qualification title "Specialist Diploma: Tax Professional" and reflected the "Diploma" nomenclature on the SAIT website (see here). Subsequently, DHET cleared The Tax Faculty of any wrongdoing or contravention of the Higher Education Act No. 101 of 1997, and the QCTO renewed the accreditation of The Tax Faculty on 2 July 2023.

Having failed to achieve his goal by lodging complaints (since May 2021), Mr. Engel in January 2024 finally executed his 14 September 2021 intended zero-sum strategy, rejecting CPD training offered through The Tax Faculty. Since January 2024, SAIT refuses to accept CPD training offered through The Tax Faculty learning platform. This followed his failed attempt to secure widespread support from Recognised Controlling Bodies (RCBs) to publicly discredit and "blacklist" The Tax Faculty as a CPD provider. Outraged by the lack of support from RCBs, Mr. Engel resorted to involving the media in his protracted campaign since 14 February 2024 to cause reputational harm to The Tax Faculty and Dr. Klue, personally.

Mr. Engel's deceptive conduct demonstrates that he does not have the best interests of SAIT members and The Tax Faculty, its respective staff, students, and alumni members at heart. His relentless pursuit is driven by personal vendetta rather than genuine concern for SAIT, members, the profession, and The Tax Faculty.

Mr. Keith Engel alleges in a media statement that SAIT paid Dr. Stiaan Klue over R3 million in the year 2020. 

Fact check: In response to Mr. Keith Engel's allegation that SAIT paid Dr. Stiaan Klue over R3 million in 2020, it is crucial to examine the facts. According to the official IRP5 document issued by SAIT to Dr. Klue for the tax period ending 28 February 2021, the amount reflected is R1,827,300 and not R3 million. This is another example of Mr. Engel's deceptive conduct.

Mr. Keith Engel is on record making the allegation that The Tax Faculty is paying Dr. Stiaan Klue irregular/excessive compensation. 

Fact check: The Total Cost of Employment ("TCOE") of Dr. Klue comprises a guaranteed (i.e., basic) salary package, supplemented with a strong performance-based short-term incentive pay based on the overall performance of the institution. 

In 2021, The Tax Faculty board appointed a remuneration specialist firm, Willis Towers Watson South Africa ("WTW"), to perform an executive remuneration evaluation and benchmarking. The latest executive remuneration report, dated 23 March 2023, can be accessed here. The recent IRP5s of Dr. Klue can be accessed here.

Based on the remuneration benchmark conducted by Willis Towers Watson South Africa and their ongoing advisory role to the Remuneration Committee, the allegation of irregular/excessive compensation practices is patently false.

Mr. Keith Engel alleges that SAIT was unaware that the short learning courses offered by The Tax Faculty, UNISA, and UP were not registered with the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA), and were therefore not acceptable for SAIT Tax Technician membership and upskilling of SARS-registered tax practitioners. 

Fact check: The SAIT leadership was fully informed of the fact that short learning programmes in South Africa are not registered by SAQA. Email correspondence pursuant to an enquiry initiated by UNISA during August 2019 on this matter summarises the prevailing practice of SAIT. It is evident that the SAIT executive approved short learning programmes for upskilling purposes for its SARS-registered tax practitioners. 

Why does the Board of The Tax Faculty consider Mr. Engel's persistent misinformation campaign an attempt to perform a hostile takeover of The Tax Faculty?

Mr. Engel’s campaign of misinformation and litigation aims to disparage the reputation of The Tax Faculty and its leadership in order to execute SAIT’s hostile takeover of The Tax Faculty to advance a nefarious agenda.

Mr. Engel is seeking to install three SAIT associates onto The Tax Faculty’s board as his proxies, with the objective of pursuing the scorched-earth agenda that Mr. Engel’s embarked upon since May 2021.

The Tax Faculty considers Mr. Engel’s nominated proxies as perhaps the most dubious three out of four characters that exist at SAIT. Mr. Chris Van Dyk, who precipitated the original dispute between Dr. Klue and Mr. Engel in 2019 when he facilitated the transfer of an irregular material deposit into the SAIT bank account out to his trust account; Ms. Caretha Laubscher, who is facing charges (SAPS Brooklyn, CAS 687/3/2023) of perjury based on forensic evidence that contradicts her affidavit; and Mr. Jerry Botha, who is actively working in concert with Mr. Engel to promote a subsidiary private company incorporated on 17 August 2023, in direct competition with the SAIT MasterClass paid subscription service, which was quietly terminated by Mr. Engel three months later (i.e., December 2023). 

If their scheme is successful, these highly conflicted individuals will be empowered to dictate the governance of The Tax Faculty without regard to the rights and interests of alumni members and beneficiaries. These individuals now seek to forcefully remove the entire current Tax Faculty board and appoint themselves as the new board members of The Tax Faculty to further an ulterior motive, a classic example of "state capture" in the private sector.

What is The Tax Faculty’s response to Mr. Engel's allegations that The Tax Faculty’s MoI was illegally amended in 2022?

We believe it is a disingenuous and devious allegation without merit. The allegations have been dispelled by a statement issued by Mr. Thabo Moloi, the chairperson of the alumni members association - click here.

A governance review was undertaken during 2021, and it came to light that an initial unapproved draft version of the MoI (“unapproved MoI”) was placed on file at CIPC during August 2019. This draft version of the MoI that was placed on file with CIPC contained material differences from the final MoI provisions approved by the incorporators and documented by Mr. Engel himself.

A material error was the reference to alumni members as “non"-voting, when in fact the incorporators of The Tax Faculty NPC expressly resolved for members to hold voting rights and beneficial ownership in the nonprofit company (see clause 7.2 of the final MoI provisions). In addition, the financial year-end was reflected as a February year-end, when in fact the company was registered at CIPC with a December year-end.

A further material governance issue was the defective and mutually destructive provision included in the unapproved MoI that empowered the SAIT Trust to unilaterally, without following due governance, remove the directorate of The Tax Faculty. Such a clause was draconian and untenable, and it showed a complete disregard for good governance expected within public benefit organisations, and also suppressed the rights of the alumni members.

These errors and deficiencies were corrected and presented to members at The Tax Faculty AGM held on 13 January 2022. The notice for the AGM was published on 15 December 2021, and all members, including the SAIT Trust, were invited to participate at the AGM. The current MoI adopted by the alumni members can be accessed here.

Why does Mr. Engel suddenly insist on adopting an unapproved version of the 2019 MoI?

Mr. Engel is forcefully seeking for The Tax Faculty to adopt the draft version of the 2019 MoI prior to The Tax Faculty becoming a Public Benefit Organisation ("PBO"). This scenario would ultimately give Mr. Engel absolute control over The Tax Faculty by relegating its alumni members to mere tokens (i.e., non-voting members).

The Tax Faculty is a Level 1 B-BBEE non-profit company and PBO. The MoI of The Tax Faculty, which is registered with the CIPC, expressly distributes the beneficial ownership and voting rights of The Tax Faculty NPC to all alumni members and not solely the directors of The Tax Faculty. This ensures collective governance and control by its members.

The Tax Faculty and its alumni members are vehemently opposed to the dubious strategy of Mr. Engel seeking to register an MoI that would not comply with the current B-BBEE and public benefit governance structure. Such a scenario, if left unchallenged, would result in its members being relegated to non-voting figureheads and tokens of misrepresentation. Put differently, the beneficial interest rights of alumni members, who are currently all entitled to vote for the directorate of The Tax Faculty, would be taken away completely. Such a scenario would be tantamount to fronting.

At stake are the institutional integrity, independence of The Tax Faculty’s board, and beneficial ownership rights of alumni members.

What is Mr. Engel’s underlying motive behind his recent circular and public campaign of false allegations against The Tax Faculty board of directors?

It is evident that Mr. Engel failed in his dubious quest—which started three years ago—to foreclose The Tax Faculty. To this end, Mr. Engel has actively and repeatedly lodged complaints against The Tax Faculty NPC since May 2021 with various government institutions, including the South African Qualifications Authority ("SAQA"), Department of Higher Education ("DHET"), Quality Council for Trades and Occupations ("QCTO"), Fasset Seta, and the South African Revenue Services ("SARS"). 

The Tax Faculty, in turn, had to take drastic action and promptly appointed senior legal counsel to investigate Mr. Engel's allegation and subsequent warning letter received from DHET.  Investigations proved that SAIT itself used the new occupational qualification title "Specialist Diploma: Tax Professional" as reflected as such on the SAIT website at the time. DHET subsequently cleared The Tax Faculty of any wrongdoing.

In another malicious gambit, Mr. Engel hopes to push The Tax Faculty over the brink of collapse by refusing The Tax Faculty CPD accreditation. During November 2023, Mr. Engel actively pursued to involve Recognised Controlling Bodies to blacklist The Tax Faculty as a CPD provider.

Since all these external complaints lodged against The Tax Faculty proved to be ineffective, Mr. Engel suddenly devised a new strategy seeking a hostile takeover of The Tax Faculty by removing the current directorate voted into office by the alumni members on 5 December 2022.

It is evident that Mr. Engel does not have the best interests of The Tax Faculty, staff, students, and its alumni members at heart.

If Mr. Keith Engel honestly believed SAIT could unilaterally replace The Tax Faculty Directorate without putting it to a vote at an AGM of Tax Faculty members, why did he go through the trouble of lodging complaints with DHET, SAQA, SARS, Fasset, and QCTO since May 2021? 

Of all Mr. Engel's actions since August 2019 when The Tax Faculty NPC was registered, and his recent public tirade during February 2024, his actions since May 2021 to lodge complaints with government agencies while reportedly believing in SAIT's unilateral power to control The Tax Faculty stand out as the most perplexing and contradictory. This raises serious questions not just about his motives and judgement but also about his competence to fulfill his fiduciary responsibilities as the SAIT CEO.

Given that Mr. Keith Engel lodged complaints against The Tax Faculty with multiple government institutions, complaints that could foreseeably cause significant harm to the organisation, staff, and members, can it be argued that he acted with dolus eventualis, recklessly disregarding the consequences of his actions despite his professed commitment to The Tax Faculty's long-term sustainability, wellbeing, and governance?

The pattern of Mr. Engel's actions—filing numerous grievances with bodies like DHET, SAQA, SARS, Fasset, and QCTO and now in the media—is evidence of a sustained, deliberate course of conduct, not a one-off lapse in his judgement. The potential for these complaints to cause significant reputational harm to The Tax Faculty, its current and former students, members, and staff would have been readily foreseeable to someone in Mr. Engel's position. Yet despite this foreseeable harm, Mr. Engel proceeded with these complaints unperturbed, repeatedly, and over an extended period. This indicates a reckless disregard for the consequences of his actions and a willingness to risk serious damage to The Tax Faculty, even if that wasn't his primary goal. Crucially, this pattern of harmful actions directly contradicts Mr. Engel's professed commitment to The Tax Faculty's well-being and acting in the best interest of SAIT members. It's difficult to reconcile a genuine interest in the organisation's best interests with lodging repeated complaints that could foreseeably cause it significant harm. 

What is The Tax Faculty’s response to Mr. Engel withdrawing CPD provider accreditation on the basis of deficient institutional integrity?

We don’t know if Mr. Engel is aware of the deflective irony behind his claim, but it does reveal that he is either intentionally dishonest with SAIT members or is shockingly ignorant of the governance of his own organisation, most likely both in equal measure.

Mr. Engel admits on record that SAIT has no cause for concern for the high standard of CPD offered by The Tax Faculty or the quality of our lecturers. This is why his slanderous email, 14 February, cites “institutional integrity” as “one of three key factors required for SAIT CPD recognition.” It should come as no surprise that if you click on this link to read SAIT’s official CPD recognition criteria, SAIT makes no reference to "institutional integrity" as a qualifier. 

In desperation, Mr. Engel has now appointed himself arbiter of ethical business practices in order to justify his refusal for more than two years to provide The Tax Faculty with the SAIT CPD provider application form. The correspondence to obtain the CPD accreditation application form can be accessed here.

Although Mr. Engel is coming to realise that the SAIT members have little appetite to continue funding his legal wranglings, the ongoing abuse of power has blinded Mr. Engel to the harm and misery he is causing the staff and members of both organisations.

Mr. Engel alludes to the substantial funding provided by SAIT to The Tax Faculty. What is the truth behind this claim?

This is a case of profound disingenuity on Mr. Engel’s part. He deviously omits that the "substantial funding" to The Tax Faculty was in fact an interest-bearing loan, of which 80% has since been repaid.

The final tranche was due to be repaid on or about 31 December 2022 after a full reconciliation of the account had been made and agreed upon by both parties. Despite numerous approaches by The Tax Faculty, the SAIT COO and their attorney have both declined to enter into a reconciliation phase. Mr. Engel’s refusal to finalise the matter is actively delaying the final repayment of the loan to SAIT, as revealed in these emails

This is another documented example where Mr. Engel is straying far from the course of institutional integrity while his deliberate obstruction fails to act in the best interests of SAIT members.

What is The Tax Faculty's response to Mr. Keith Engel's concern that the board of directors has personally financially benefited from The Tax Faculty?

Mr. Engel keeps the accusation vague by design. Aside from failing to provide details or describe the extent to which the Tax Faculty’s board has inappropriately benefited from their positions, Mr. Engel also failed to provide a shred of evidence to support his malicious claims. 

Fact: Total Annual Honorarium Paid to Non-Executive Directors:

  2020 2021 2022 2023
C D Hirst (Chairperson)  R 59 380  R 135 500  R 68 000  R   98 800
R P Smith  R 39 000  R   54 425  R 53 000  R   69 300
N B Wright  R 40 000  R   40 000  R 40 000  R   42 000
L L Legadima  R 40 247  R   40 000  R 40 000  R   42 000
S Mili  R 40 000  R           -    R         -    R           -  
A Oguttu  R 40 000  R   40 000  R 40 000  R   42 000

This is another example that exposes the deceptive nature of Mr. Engel.

Note: The Tax Faculty Annual Financial Statements are independently audited. In addition, the SARS Tax Exempt Unit annually reviews the financial statements for compliance with Section 30B of the Income Tax Act. Since incorporation in 2019 as a nonprofit company and subsequent registration as a Public Benefit Organisation in 2020, The Tax Faculty has consistently received unqualified audits. In addition, the CIPC has never issued The Tax Faculty a compliance notice for non-compliance with the Companies Act, 2008 (as amended).

What caused Mr. Engel to target Dr. Stiaan Klue, terminating his services as SAIT Special Advisor and suspending his SAIT honorary life membership?

During May 2020, while Dr. Klue was still in the service of SAIT as Special Advisor, he reported a suspicious transaction to the SAIT Audit and Risk Committee. This incident bolsters our belief that the acrimonious fallout between Dr. Klue and Mr. Engel originated in May 2020 and led to Mr. Engel’s personal vendetta against Dr. Klue. This fallout escalated into the current protracted legal dispute between SAIT and The Tax Faculty.

We refer you to Dr Klue's open letter explaining this matter in detail.

How much is the ongoing dispute costing each party in legal fees?

To date, The Tax Faculty has spent approximately R1 350 000 in litigation fees to defend the institution from Mr. Engel's frivolous complaints to government regulators and subsequent litigation between the parties. Our legal defence has been financed by surplus revenue, which is extremely unfortunate since this has a significant impact on The Tax Faculty's ability to provide study and bursary grants to historically disadvantaged students and people living with disabilities.

We are reliably informed that SAIT has, since 2021, spent approximately R3 500 000 in legal fees pursuing Mr. Engel’s personal vendetta against Dr. Klue and The Tax Faculty.

Mr. Engel’s litigation spree is being funded by SAIT’s membership fees. Membes are concerned that Mr. Engel's recent media campaign is an attempt at preempting an anticipated resolution by SAIT members [at the now overdue 2023 AGM] to vote against Mr. Engel’s further abuse of SAIT member funds to pursue his personal vendetta.

Has The Tax Faculty shown a lack of inclination to support historically disadvantaged students due to not being awarded Fasset grants, as alleged by Mr. Keith Engel? 

Mr. Engel's allegation is not only ill-informed but also a clear attempt to deflect attention from the real concerning allegations he made in court proceedings about The Tax Faculty flooding SAIT membership with "low-quality" entrants, which "undermines the brand of current members.

The Tax Faculty's commitment to nation-building is unwavering and goes far beyond the outcome of government grants. Despite the devastating setback of 496 students not being awarded study grants, The Tax Faculty has taken proactive steps and currently uses surplus revenue and crowd-funding to source funds. 

The table below highlights the data for bursaries awarded through surplus funds and crowd-funding:

  2022 2023 2024
Total Bursaries Awarded  R         1 276 800  R            984 308  R            480 105
Historically Disadvantaged Bursaries  R            995 904  R            895 720  R            417 691
Other  R            280 896  R              88 588  R              62 414

Click here to read a selection of testimonials of past beneficiaries.

Click here to fund a learner.

Why did Dr. Klue propose an interview with Mr. Engel moderated by Judge Dennis Davis?

Dr. Klue proposed the interview in response to Mr. Engel's proactive media campaign, which included circulating slanderous emails and making false allegations against Dr. Klue. The interview aims to provide a transparent and unbiased platform for both parties to present their perspectives and address the concerns of internal stakeholders.

Who is Judge Dennis Davis, and why was he chosen to moderate the interview?

Judge Dennis Davis is a retired judge and the host presenter of the SABC program "Judge for Yourself." He was chosen to moderate the interview due to his proven track record of handling controversial topics with balance and integrity. His experience and impartiality make him an ideal choice for ensuring a fair and transparent discussion.

Mr. Engel has alleged that Judge Davis is an inappropriate choice to moderate the interview due to his current role as the chairperson of the Davis Tax Committee and his close work with SARS.

While it is true that Judge Davis currently serves as the chairperson of the Davis Tax Committee and works closely with SARS, this does not diminish his ability to act as an impartial and objective moderator for the proposed interview. Judge Davis's extensive experience as an independent jurist and his proven track record of handling controversial topics with balance and integrity in his SABC program demonstrates his capacity to remain unbiased and fair. Furthermore, the Davis Tax Committee is an independent advisory committee that provides recommendations to the Minister of Finance on tax policy and reforms. Its role is separate from the ongoing dispute between Dr. Klue and Mr. Engel, and Judge Davis's involvement in the committee does not inherently create a conflict of interest in moderating the proposed interview. It is important to note that the purpose of the interview is to provide a platform for both parties to present their perspectives and address the concerns of internal stakeholders in a transparent and unbiased manner. Judge Davis's experience, professionalism, and impartiality make him well-suited to facilitate this discussion, regardless of his other professional commitments.

To read all email correspondence between the parties on this matter, click here.

Why does Dr. Klue believe it is important for Mr. Engel to participate in the interview?

Dr. Klue believes that participating in the interview would demonstrate a commitment to transparency and accountability on the part of both parties. It presents an opportunity for Mr. Engel to address the concerns and questions of internal stakeholders directly, in an unscripted format. Refusing to participate may be perceived as an attempt to avoid accountability for his actions.

Will participating in the interview jeopardise the ongoing court proceedings?

No, participating in the interview would not jeopardize the ongoing court proceedings. In fact, it would demonstrate a commitment to transparency and accountability to the SAIT members who are concerned by Mr. Engel's public statements.

Why does Dr. Klue believe an open discussion with a closed member/stakeholder audience is appropriate?

Dr. Klue believes an open discussion with a closed stakeholder audience comprising members of both institutions is appropriate because of the potential impact of the dispute on their emotional and professional well-being. An open interview conducted by a neutral third party would serve the interests of transparency and fairness, allowing stakeholders to have their concerns addressed directly.

How has Dr. Klue engaged with the media regarding this matter?

To date, all engagements between the media and Dr. Klue (and alumni) have been entirely reactive in nature. Journalists initiated inquiries in response to emails and media statements issued by Mr. Engel. Dr. Klue has not initiated any proactive media campaigns or made false allegations against Mr. Engel.


These FAQs are published by The Tax Faculty in response to three bulk email circulars issued, including the media, by Mr. Keith Engel on 14 February 2024, 28 February 2024, and an additional two media releases issued by the SAIT PR consultancy BCW Global on 29 February 2024 and 5 March 2024.

The contents of these FAQs are in response to the allegations made by Mr. Engel and reflect the position of The Tax Faculty based on evidence in its possession. The views expressed herein should not be interpreted by the reader as representing the opinions or perspectives of The Tax Faculty's corporate stakeholders or individual members. The Tax Faculty acknowledges that its corporate stakeholders are not parties to the ongoing dispute between The Tax Faculty and SAIT, and their association with The Tax Faculty should not be construed as an endorsement of the views presented in this public announcement.


Wendy De souza

April 04, 2024 2024 is the year of the truth. Thank you Dr. Klue for your persistent fight for TTF members. It's shocking how corruption is being veiled under false accusations, malicious business take-over attempts and the further misuse of SAIT membership fees in legal pursuit of these strategies. Being a member of SAIT and TTF, I trust that the SAIT Board will take the necessary steps against further damages and frivolous misuse of our membership fees and that our continuous learning with TTF will be actively supported and promoted by SAIT, to the advancement of members of both entities.
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