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Judge N P Mali

Capacity: Judge
First appointed as a judge: 01-01-2016
Further appointments: N/A
Gender: Female
Ethnicity: African

Key judgments:
(1) A v Minister of Police (19296/10) [2014] ZAGPPHC 969 (8 December 2014) ;
(2) Xyz (Pty) Ltd v Commissioner (14189) [2018] ZATC 11 (20 December 2018) ;
(3) Association of Test Publishers of South Africa v S.A (89564/14) [2017] ZAGPPHC 144; [2017] 8 BLLR 850 (Gp); (2017) 38 Ilj 2253 (GP) (3 May 2017);
(4) Panagiotopoulos v Liberty Group Ltd (3955/2011) [2014] ZAGPPHC 229 (25 April 2014);
(5) Molefi v S (A887/2014) [2015] ZAGPPHC 484 (4 June 2015)

Candidate bio:
Judge Nelisa Mali is a serving judge and seeks a transfer from the Mpumalanga High Court to Gauteng High Court for family reasons. Judge Mali holds a B.Iuris and LLB from the Walter Sisulu University and an LLM in tax law from the University of Cape Town. She is an experienced tax professional and prides herself on having contributed to the development of tax law in South Africa through her judgments, sharing of her tax skills, and functioning of the tax court. She has served in the South African Revenue Services as a Regional Manager and an Assistant Branch Manager in the Special Investigations Unit (SIU).

She was appointed as a judge in the Gauteng Division of the High Court in 2016 where she served till 2019 when she transferred to Mpumalanga High Court. She has served as the Acting Deputy Judge President in Mpumalanga from August 2019 to September 2019.

In XYZ v Commissioner, a tax matter where the issue was whether the appellant’s receipt of a sum of money was revenue in nature (in which case it would be taxable) or of a capital nature (in which case there would be no tax liability), Mali J held that the appellant had “worked around the clock” on the lease agreement, “and in the process crossed the line in an attempt to attain an undue tax benefit.” [Paragraph 53]. She dismissed the appeal holding that the reduced understatement penalty of 10% was reasonable, and that the appellant was liable for interest. [Paragraphs 56 – 57]

April 2021 Interview Synopsis

A judge of the Mpumalanga High Court with a specialisation in tax affairs, Nelisa Mali is seeking a transfer to the Gauteng High Court for family reasons.

At the intervention of Gauteng Judge President and Economic Freedom Front MP Julius Malema, Mali told the Judicial Service Commission about a judgment which has done away with what she considered the unnecessary inclusion of ill-qualified assessors in adjudicating tax matters. Mali said there was a lacuna in the law with regard to the assessors, who sometimes sought to break the law by seeking to write judgments and that they were, in the main, a “waste of taxpayers money”.

Advocate Dali Mpofu SC asked Mali why qualified black female lawyers like herself were not part of the Davis Tax Committee. She said she did not know the reasons behind it, since she believed this was the prerogative of the ministers of justice and finance.

She did however tell the commission that she got into tax law because she wanted to pursue her first love, accountancy, through the law. Mali recounted how difficult it was to get articles at one of the established law firms which specialised in tax law.

April 2021 Interview: