Ubuntu developer and technology entrepreneur Mark Shuttleworth probably never imagined that it would cost him more to leave South Africa than to stay here.

Shuttleworth moved to the Isle of Man in the UK in 2009, taking his R2.5 billion in capital with him, and for doing so the South African Reserve Bank slapped him with a R250 million levy – and now he wants his money back.

The levy was imposed on him by the High Court in Pretoria last July to get his assets out of the country, but Shuttleworth will be stating his case to the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) on Thursday, as he feels that SARB should repay him the money.

According to Independent Online, “the Reserve Bank, which will be represented at the SCA by top senior counsel Jeremy Gauntlett, says the levy is authorised by law. South Africa’s central bank also argues that the levy was not an impermissible exercise of fiscal power, but to control capital outflows and promote macro-economic growth after the global financial instability of 2008.”

When he emigrated in 2001, almost R4.3 billion of his assets were blocked from being transferred out of the country, but Shuttleworth got permission to move R1.5 billion last year.

Shuttleworth has also tried in the past to get the Currency and Exchange Act, the Exchange Control Regulations, and two 2003 Exchange Control Circulars declared unconstitutional – and was mildly successful.

“(High court judge) Legodi found the section of the act invalid, inconsistent with the constitution and struck it down subject to confirmation by the Constitutional Court. The high court judge also declared part of the Exchange Control Regulations invalid and inconsistent with the constitution in that it violated the freedom of trade, occupation and profession clause. Legodi suspended the declaration of invalidity for a year to enable the then finance minister Gordhan to correct the cause of constitutional invalidity,” Independent Online added.

[Source – Independent Online, image CC by 2.0/Alexandre Prokoudine]
Charlie started his professional life as a motoring journalist for a community newspaper in Mpumalanga, Charlie explored different journalistic angles since his entry into the fast-paced world of publishing in 2006. While fostering a passion for the arts, Charlie developed a love for technology – both which allowed him to serve as Entertainment and Technology Editor for an online publication. Charlie has since been heavily involved in consumer technology for various websites and publications. He thoroughly enjoys World War II films and cerebral documentaries; aviation; photography and indie music. Oh yes, and he also has a rather strange obsession with collecting coffee mugs from his travels.