When you mention the word Tax, it evokes one of two emotions from us. You either get a little demoer in or you get a little anxious. Upset because you have to pay. Anxious because you pray to God you will fall below the tax-threshold for one more year.
The truth of the matter is…we are all paying. There isn`t a single person in this sunny country of ours who is not contributing to the coffers of the state. Every time you buy something. Every time you earn something – You Pay.
Pravin Gordan explained to us today that the percentage tax collected in relation to the GDP of our country seems to have taken a knock since the global recession and it doesn`t look like it is going to get any better soon. That is code for Pravin saying : “The government is getting less tax…expect less tax breaks. We need the money”
It makes you wonder though. I mean, sure the economy has been growing slower…but by no means are we in a recession yet. And offcourse companies had to tighten their belts which means less profits and less tax. Yet I cannot help to feel that Mr Gordan has it completely wrong.
Simply put : We have reached the saturation point of the maximum amount of tax that can be extracted from the minimum amount of citizens. In short : The golden goose is kicking the bucket. And no-one seems to be rearing the hatchlings.
And offcourse one can understand that the rich and the economically active have to be taxed…I mean how the hell do you make an unemployed person pay tax ? But you are wrong. The tentacles of the Tax Monster have long since reached their pockets too. See, every time you pay for something…let`s say your monthly ration of meat : You pay 14% VAT. Every time you get on a taxi…part of your fare is to cover the fuel…and in turn a rather large percentage of tax for every litre of fuel in that taxi.
Everywhere you go in your taxi…you will be tolled. And this will make up some of your fare too. That cheap cigarette you`re pulling on…one of the few joys you have whilst scouring the streets for a piece-job…taxed. Those shoes on your feet. Taxed.
The water in your house you drank this morning because you don`t have money for coffee or tea. Taxed. So you see, regardless wether you pay 40% on your R 85 000 salary or 14% on the essentials you just bought. You WILL pay.
When we pay…we expect to receive something. That`s how it works, right ?
So I gotta ask Mr Gordan :
- Where are the free schools and free universities for A-grade kids who work their butts off at candlelight ?
- Where are the feeding schemes…the clothing schemes…the tax breaks for those kids and their families ?
- Where are the functioning public transport systems where I can pay a minimum fee and SIT down…not hang around and pray I don`t get chucked off or lost in the crowd ?
- Where are the nurses` colleges, the teachers colleges, the agricultural colleges ?
- Where are the adult educational schools in townships ?
- Where are the government Developmental Banks and Business Schools in townships ?
- Where are the community farms around townships ?
- Where are the roads, the rails, the sewerage lines, the water ways, the electricity lines, the low-income housing projects built by LOCALS who go to LOCAL public service and municipal works colleges ?
- Where are the Craft- and Tradesmen colleges in the townships ?
- Where are the industrial development zones for the rural areas. The clothing industry hubs. The forestry hubs. The fishing hubs. The tourism hubs ?
- Where are the new Iscor`s ?
- Where are the new Sasol`s ?
- Where are the Police Colleges in every province ?
- Where are the state of the art libraries in every township ?
I don`t wanna make this about colour…because that is one thing Tax does not care about. What colour you are. I can deal with a pothole. I can deal with the lights in my street being out for a month. I can deal with my kid`s school closing down. I can understand what this country is going through.
But. I cannot deal with a thief. Especially one that is robbing the future away from us all in South Africa.
I work. I pay. I don`t work. I pay.
Mr.Taxman…what have you done for me lately ? What are you doing with our money ?!?