According to the annual tax statistics for 2019, of the around 21 million registered taxpayers in South Africa, only about 6.7 million were expected to submit a tax return that year. The tax collected from these individuals was about R493.8 billion, a figure that was more than double the R214.4 billion collected from companies.
Employment matters for South Africa. While all formal and informal employment keeps families fed, clothed and sheltered; taxable employment also funds a society's current social and economic spend and its investment into its future. It also pays for its past debts. That's why last week's Quarterly Labour Force Survey's results were so concerning. Not only do they speak to the real suffering of the majority of South Africa's labour force and society at large, but they also tell us about a grim future to come.
It takes high growth to gain a few jobs in this economy. After a sluggish post-1994 period, South Africa experienced a period of accelerated growth between 2003 to 2006, reaching growth as high as 5.6%, before slowing down post-financial crisis. During the period of high economic growth, the labour participation rate (the proportion of the working-age population that is employed) barely budged, increasing from 41.8% in 2003 to 44.7% in 2009, before moving back to 41% by 2013.