SAIT Honorary Fellowship Award Profiles: Aubrey Silke
27 May 2013
Posted by: Author: SAIT Communications
Source: SAIT Communications
awards annual honorary fellowships to individuals who have made exceptional
contributions to the South African taxation landscape and as a result of this
also to our society as a whole. This year we were honoured to extend a
fellowship award to Aubrey Silke whose tremendous impact on South African
taxation can still be seen today. The award was accepted by Aubrey’s son,
Jonathan Silke, on behalf of his father.
Aubrey Samuel Silke was born in Hermanus on 1922, he matriculated at
Villiersdorp High School in the Cape Province and completed his Ph.D at the
University of Cape Town in 1958. In 1970 Aubrey was rewarded as an honorary
professor of taxation by the University of Cape Town. He passed away in 1983 at
the age of 61.
graduated through the University of Cape Town in 1944 with a B Com (Hons),
receiving the Bankers’ and Ackermans’ scholarships, in addition to winning
class medals for economics, pure mathematics and accounting. He proceeded to
article in accountancy and qualified as a Chartered Accountant in South Africa.
In 1948 Aubrey passed the final examinations of the London Society of
Incorporated Accountants and Auditors, which ultimately ensured his membership
of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.
passion for the study of taxation was taken to the next level, and he
immediately enrolled for his Master of Commerce degree with specialisation in
taxation, which he obtained with first class honours in 1946. He was a true
pioneer in establishing the tax profession in South Africa in its own right. He
referred to himself as a "Tax Consultant” from as early as 1946, with complete
dismay expressed by his fellow chartered accountants at the Institute of Chartered
the same time, Aubrey recognised that South Africa needed commentary and
analysis as part of the evolving jurisprudence of tax law. During his lifetime
he produced more than a dozen authoritative publications on taxation. His first
manuscript published in 1946, was first presented to Juta&Co for
publication, however, the publisher declined due to the fact that the
development of the tax jurisprudence was relatively foreign and of no real
commercial value to the publisher. Aubrey was a visionary, and took the bold
step in personally publishing his first publication, Illustrations to Income
Tax. However, soon thereafter, Juta realised the growing interest in and need
for technical commentary on taxation, and offered to publish the textbook on
Aubrey’s behalf. All of his subsequent publications were published through
Juta, including the well-known judicial authoritative Silke on South African
Income Tax series which Aubrey founded in 1957 and which is authored today
by Professors Alwyn de Koker and R C (Bob) Williams and which is today
published by LexisNexis.
PhD titled, Tax Avoidance and Tax Reduction, quickly became a reference
manual and was subsequently published by Juta as a book aimed at practitioners,
serving as a practical reference manual.
addition to his vast research and publication record, Aubrey also made time to
contribute as an academic, training many generations of chartered accountants
as a lecturer within the Faculty of Accounting at the University of Cape Town
between 1960 and 1970. During his service as an academic, he founded the
Honours in Taxation course at the University of Cape Town in 1970, for which he
was honoured and appointed the position of honorary professor of taxation.
Illustrating his pioneering work in leading the establishment of the tax
profession in South Africa, it is significant to note that the University of
the Witwatersrand, only for the first time in 2013, enrolled students on its B
Com Honours in Taxation.
co-founded the practical authoritative publication The Taxpayer with the
late Advocate David Meyerowitz, as well as the specialist publication Income
Tax Reporter in 1960, which is still published by LexisNexis, some 30 years
after his passing in 1983. His son,
Advocate Jonathan Silke, followed in his fathers’ footsteps and today
specialises in taxation at the Cape Bar. He is the co-editor of the Income
Tax Reporter and editor of the South African Tax Cases Reports for
the past twenty years.