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SAIT Honorary Fellowship Awards Profiles: Dave Meyerowitz

Tuesday, 28 May 2013   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Author: SAIT Communications
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Source: SAIT Communications

Dave Meyerowitz remains one of the most loved icons of taxation in South Africa. Given Dave’s remarkable contribution to the tax profession in the country, SAIT extended a posthumous honorary fellowship award to Dave which was accepted by his grandson Neil on the 14th of May at SAIT’s tax gala dinner. 

Dave Meyerowitz was born in Cape Town in 1917 and grew up in Salt River. He studied at the University of Cape Town, graduating with an LLB in 1937. A member of the Cape Bar, he took silk (senior counsel) in 1963. In 1990 he was honoured by the University of Cape Town when he was awarded an honorary Doc­torate in law. When he retired in 2009, at the age of 92, he was the oldest active member of the Bar. Dave passed away in 2011 at the age of 94.

Dave was an expert on the administration of estates and income tax, both subjects on which he was published widely. His seminal text, The Administration of Estates, the first comprehensive text on the subject, was published in 1949. Described as "a legal umbilical cord for the profession,” it is a publication to be found in every attorney’s office and advocate’s chamber.

The two major works, Meyerowitz on Administration of Estates and Mey­erowitz on Income Tax capture the essence of David’s contribution to the tax profession and jurisprudence. Care­fully written, with a clear analysis, these widely regarded authoritative publica­tions by the late Meyerowitz, reflects his level of dedicated scholarship in the specialised field of taxation of a kind that is truly rare. In 1952, with two oth­er established legal authors (Drs Aubrey Silke and Erwin Spiro), he began and edited The Taxpayer, a journal devot­ed to the law, practice and incidence of income tax and death duties. He continued to edit the journal until his retirement.

Dave was highly respected and held in great esteem by his colleagues. Judge Dennis Davis, who paid tribute to him on his retirement, said "He has always been, and remains, the pre-em­inent practitioner in the field. To have maintained this standard into his 90s is testimony to an extraordinary intellect and a wonderfully practiced mind… It is unlikely that South Africa will again produce a specialist able to conduct an exceptionally busy chamber prac­tice, litigate regularly, write complex works on income tax, maintain a book on the administration of estates, and ensure — almost single-handedly — that a monthly journal is produced on time with content that is fresh, clear and of significant application to the tax community in this country. That is the unique legacy of David Meyerowitz SC.”

Dave also served the community, start­ing at the age of 16, when he became the minuting secretary of the Salt River and Woodstock Young Judeans. He later served as secretary of the local branch of the Jewish National Fund and in 1938 as chair of the Zionist Youth Council, serving for four years. Dave joined the Western Province Zionist Council (‘WPZC’) when it was formed in 1944. He took over from the venerable Jacob Gitlin as secretary of the Dorshei Zion when Gitlin became chairman of the WPZC, and he wrote regular edito­rials for the then Cape Jewish Chron­icle, a weekly newspaper published under the auspices of the Dorshei Zion. Dave served with great distinction as chairman of the WPZC for eight years, during the important and challenging period of 1966 to 1974. He also served as a vice-chairman of SAJBOD (Cape Council) for 13 years. In addition, he was a valued trustee and committee member of the Allocations Committee of the United Jewish Campaign.

Dave’s colleague of many years, Gerald Kleinman once said, "Dave was a great community leader. His sage advice and legal counsel were always freely available to the community.” Described by many as a legend in his lifetime, his contributions are lasting.­



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