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Abstract

A clear trend has been identified in relation to the interpretation of statutes from a strict or literal approach towards a more purposive approach. This has even been the case for revenue law which for some time has been considered as a penal statute. This trend is evident in other tax jurisdictions, both civilian and common law. After comparing and contrasting the various arguments for and against the purposive approach, it has been concluded that this observed change should not be welcomed in relation to the taxation legislation. Such an approach poses a serious threat to the separation of powers’, as the judicial arm would be able to read words into the legislation as they see fit. Even worse, however, is the threat to human rights, that is, the ability of the taxpayers to protect what is rightfully their own.

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