Black tax: A burden or blessing?

By Drum Digital
12 January 2017

Is it right or wrong for your family to expect money from you because you work? Want to know of paying Black Tax is a good idea.

While many were spending their money on having a good time over the December holidays, many others had to face January with the responsibility of financing their families.

Those who have jobs are expected by their parents to contribute financially because they raised them and paid for their education. But not everyone finds black tax it to be a burden. Some say it’s a sign of gratitude that they’re proud to carry out.

However, Acting CEO of the South African Savings Institute Gerald Mwandiambira warns that forking out money to support your family can lead to debt and emotional abuse, especially if one has to take out loans.

“It becomes abuse when the person who is providing for their family is not coping but they are obliged to continue giving money,” he notes. “It’s also difficult for someone to say no to their mother.”

He says some family members have gone to the extreme of asking their children to buy them cars, even though they don’t have one themselves.

“One of the biggest mistakes young people make is that when they get that big job they have always wanted, they disclose their salary and word gets around,” he explains. “Try to keep the details of your finances private.”

Instead, he says black South Africans should be concerned about creating wealth, instead of paying black tax because it leads to a vicious cycle.

“If you create wealth, you leave an inheritance for future generations,” he advises. “If you have to pay black tax, the next person who you supported will have to fund the next generation because they too will have to follow in your footsteps.”

Gerald says there needs to be discipline in budgeting and an elimination of competition.

“We need to stop competing with the Kunenes because that can fuel black tax,” he warns. “If your neighbour extends their house, you expect your children to do the same. Or you want your children to go to private schools because others are doing it.”

Banothile Nzimande (26) says she had to drop out of university because her parents could not afford to pay for her studies, instead she found a job so she can send money home.

“I sometimes feel like life has been unfair to me because I can’t buy the things I want,” she says. “I work in a clothing store but I can’t even afford to buy some of those clothes.”

She tells us that her family is poor and her parents are unemployed.

“Sometimes at home things run out in the middle of the month and I have to hustle to support them, but I’m not complaining, I just have to work my butt off,” she tells us.

However, she does not believe that black tax is necessarily a bad thing.

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