Public Statement: SAIT vs The Tax Faculty

Delirious Disruption: The Tax Faculty Unravels Engel's Three-Year Plot of Destruction

Pretoria, 11 March 2024 (updated 3 April 2024)

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. We place on the public record our strongest repudiation of each and all of the false allegations levelled against The Tax Faculty and its CEO, Dr. Stiaan Klue. Mr. Engel's actions, we believe, are part of a three-year strategy to destabilize our institution and ultimately force its closure—a move that would crush the hopes and dreams of the historically disadvantaged students we serve.

In the face of these baseless accusations circulated by Engel to the media, we are compelled to set the record straight. Through a series of comprehensive Q&A documents, we will provide clear evidence that exposes the truth behind Mr. Engel's claims and reveals the devastating impact of his actions on our students, staff, and alumni. We invite the tax profession to examine these documents and judge for themselves the veracity of Mr. Engel's allegations.

Avoiding Accountability at All Cost

Until now, The Tax Faculty Board has refrained from publicly addressing Engel's delirious conduct and actions, choosing instead to prioritise the creation of an environment conducive to mediation and meaningful settlement negotiations. Our unwavering commitment remains to our students, as we seek to direct our full focus and resources towards supporting their educational journeys and career aspirations rather than engaging in tit-for-tat, out-of-context dialogue about complex matters that affect the livelihoods of many innocent people.

However, the communication received from Engel in the days immediately prior to his public statement on 14 February 2024 revealed that SAIT, under Engel's instruction, is determined to obstruct any form of reasonable mediation or arbitration proceedings before a senior retired judge. Beyond the unnecessary anguish and turmoil inflicted upon The Tax Faculty's dedicated staff, as well as the thousands of current and former students and tax professionals who have entrusted their education and careers to our institution, the Board firmly believes that Engel's relentless pursuit of baseless and vexatious litigation serves no one—neither SAIT's members nor the broader tax profession that relies on a robust, diverse, and inclusive educational landscape to thrive.

Crossing the Rubicon to a Scorched Earth

It is glaringly evident that Mr. Engel's recent public statements are a calculated and malicious attempt to disrupt the personal life of Dr. Klue while he is on paternity leave and pressure The Tax Faculty into terminating Dr. Klue's appointment as CEO. Engel's recent public smear campaign against Dr. Klue and his relentless attempts that started on 29 January 2021 to influence The Tax Faculty Board to remove Dr. Klue from his position as CEO are a prime example of the toxic cancel culture, where an individual is aggressively targeted and publicly vilified with the sole aim of destroying their reputation and career. The outcome of the independent investigation conducted by Adv. Graham Leslie SC can be accessed here.

We have every reason to believe that the ongoing campaign of destruction is fueled by Mr. Engel's deeply personal vendetta against Dr. Klue, stemming from a protected disclosure made by Dr. Klue in May 2020 to the SAIT Audit and Risk Committee during his tenure as SAIT's Special Advisor. Mr. Engel's actions are a blatant abuse of his position as SAIT CEO, leveraging his influence and platform to settle personal scores at the expense of the reputation and well-being of The Tax Faculty, staff, and students. It is a grave injustice that Dr. Klue, a widely respected positive social change agent who had the courage to speak truth to power through proper channels, is now being subjected to a vicious campaign of character assassination and professional sabotage.

Impact on Historically Disadvantaged Students Pursuing a Career in Tax

We are deeply concerned and disappointed by Mr. Engel's actions, which have had severe consequences for The Tax Faculty and its mission as a public benefit organisation. Mr. Engel's personal disagreements with the founding CEO of SAIT should not have been allowed to impact our organisation, staff, and the students we serve.

The most regrettable outcome of Mr. Engel's actions is the termination of government grants that were supposed to support 496 historically disadvantaged tax students. These study grants were crucial in helping these unemployed graduates pursue their professional aspirations in the field of taxation. Mr. Engel's decision to lobby the Fasset CEO and influence the termination of Fasset's support for The Tax Faculty nation-building programs has effectively crushed the dreams of these deserving individuals.

The testimonials from students previously supported by The Tax Faculty through study grants paint a clear picture of the life-changing impact of this program. While Mr. Engel's actions threaten to crush dreams and limit opportunities, The Tax Faculty's staff and lecturers have been quietly transforming lives. Read some moving testimonials of students who found hope, support, and a path to a brighter future through our work. These grants were not merely financial support but a means to empowerment, education, and a brighter future.

At no stage prior to Mr. Engel's recent public tirade has he or any of the SAIT management raised any concerns with The Tax Faculty as to the content, presentation, and quality of our courses, except for Mr. Engel implying in prior court proceedings that the historically disadvantaged students financially supported by The Tax Faculty with Fasset grants were an attempt to flood SAIT with "low-quality" entrants, which "undermines the brand of current members." In contrast, Fasset reported the success stories of these so-called "new entrants" in its 2020/2021 Annual Integrated Report (see page. 145).

Support for Dr. Klue 

The Tax Faculty Board unreservedly supports Dr. Klue as a highly competent and visionary leader who has dedicated his career to pursuing a positive social change agenda, who was instrumental in establishing SAIT, served as SAIT's founding CEO, and is now currently in his capacity as the CEO of The Tax Faculty. We can only deduce that Engel's ongoing attempt to destabilise our institution through expensive litigation and his recent smear campaign, which included a host of misinformation, is part of a dubious strategy to undermine the mission of The Tax Faculty.


The Tax Faculty Board does not believe that it's coincidental that Mr. Engel's conduct since 2021 has been calculated and directed at foreclosing The Tax Faculty.

We urge Mr. Engel to reconsider his destructive actions and the far-reaching consequences they have had on our students, SAIT, The Tax Faculty, and our profession. It is crucial that personal differences be set aside for the greater good of the profession and to resume our mission of providing opportunities to those who need them most.

In the interests of transparency and institutional integrity, The Tax Faculty Board has compiled two comprehensive Q&A documents. We invite the reader to carefully review the documents and evaluate the evidence presented so that they can make their own informed judgement in this matter.

Click here for general questions on the history of this dispute, and our repudiation of each of the unfounded allegations and spiteful dispersions that Engel has made to our stakeholders, the media, and the public. Unlike Mr. Engel, however, we only present facts that are substantiated with evidence.

Click here if you are a The Tax Faculty subscriber who has concerns or queries relating to how this dispute impacts your professional development, education, and CPD accreditation. This Q&A document covers common queries and will continue to be updated on a regular basis.



This public announcement was issued by The Tax Faculty in response to three bulk emails circulated to the tax profession, 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 this announcement are in response to the conduct of 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.

About The Tax Faculty

The Tax Faculty is the leading tax education provider in South Africa. Accredited as a Level 1 B-BBEE contributor and Public Benefit Organisation with a focus on tax education. A key objective of The Tax Faculty’s is to empower students and tax professionals with the skills and competencies required to work in a modern tax administration system. In addition, the Tax Faculty offers free taxpayer education through its various open access platforms and social media.

The Tax Faculty is accredited as a private college (skills development partner) under the Skills Development Act, 1998 (Act No 97 of 1998) by the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) to offer the Tax Technician and Tax Professional occupational qualifications registered with the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA).

Media Contact

Dayne Stern

Cell: 081 450 4380



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