The great white-tax debate – ‘Rich should pay wealth tax’ – Tutu

2011-08-13 17:14

Comment: Desmond Tutu

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu called for a “wealth tax” to be imposed on all rich South Africans this week.

He said the following at a book launch at Stellenbosch University on Thursday:

» He called on the Cabinet to sell their expensive cars “to show you care” about the poor in South Africa.

» Apartheid had left South Africans riddled with “self-hate” and was directly to blame for the country’s vicious crime rate and road carnage.

» To white people: “You all benefited from apartheid. Your children went to fancy schools, you lived in posh suburbs”.

» “There were many in the white community who were ready for this (wealth tax) at the time of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission process. It could be quite piffling, maybe one percent of their stock exchange holdings.

It’s nothing. But it could have helped... maybe building new homes, and that would have been an extraordinary symbol of their readiness”.

» Tutu did not say how he wished the tax to be implemented, but said he hoped whites themselves would “agitate” for it to be imposed upon them.

» “There is nothing wrong in saying rich people include all those who became rich after 1994. It’s not about punishment, but about the desire for us all to heal.”

» “When you suffer from self-hate you project it on to those who look like you and so we have so-called black-on-black violence, where the victim of a hijacking is shot even when she has surrendered her car keys”.

» Black South Africans continued to litter as a result of apartheid. “The disgrace of littering... is not a function of poverty. Our parents were poor but our surroundings were scrupulously clean because apartheid had not yet done its pernicious work”.

» Another effect of apartheid was the nation’s road deaths rate, which is regularly one of the highest in the world. “We drive recklessly, inconsiderately, aggressively … because deep down we are angry.

» “We are wounded,” he said.

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