14 March 2018 by Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr

Our thoughts are with Matthew Lester's colleagues, friends and family

South Africa lost one of its foremost tax experts yesterday: Professor, Matthew Lester. More poignantly, many lost a colleague, friend and mentor. At Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr, we count ourselves among them.

As a firm, we had the privilege of witnessing his great mind in action. A frequent speaker at our annual budget speech event, he had an uncanny ability to distil and inject humour into complex tax matters, quickly earning the trust and respect of any audience.

A larger-than-life character, Matthew's sudden death will be widely felt. A chartered accountant and tax professor, he worked at SARS, BDO, Rhodes University, Rhodes Business School and as a member of the Davis Tax Committee. A prolific writer and teacher, his tax column in the Sunday Times gained a large and loyal following before he channelled this energy to BizNews where his contributions earned similar attention and success.

A man of sharp wit and acute insights, Matthew will remembered and honoured for his expertise and thought-leadership. He will, however, be celebrated and cherished for his other attributes: the generosity with which he shared his knowledge; his authenticity; his sense of fun; his complete inability – as Alec Hogg described in a tribute to his friend - to pull a punch.

While many experts treat complexity as a badge of honour, Matthew made a strong case for the more-sophisticated alternative: simplicity. His common touch and the ease of his delivery sometimes disguised the mastery required to pull of such a rare and difficult task. In work, so, too, in life - Matthew sucked the marrow out of it.

Today, and in the hard ones to come, our thoughts are with Matthew's colleagues, friends and family.

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