It is now official that our government is considering raising further taxes to fund the procurement and rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine.
In response, ActionSA is launching the #CutTheFat Campaign, a public campaign to gather the voices of millions of South Africans behind the idea that government must cut its expenditure before raising an additional cent in taxes on an already overburdened tax base.
Every South African is a taxpayer. One of the greatest lies perpetuated in our country is that only people with jobs or businesses pay tax, denying everyone else the status as a taxpayer. Even the11.2 million South Africans who are unemployed will suffer from higher taxes, paying more for transport and basic household supplies.
After the economic hardships of the 2020 lockdown, the South African household has come under pressure. Households have less to spend, nearly half of small businesses closed, and 2.8 million jobs were lost as a result.
A government that raises tax on any South African under these economic conditions would have to prove that it had done everything in its power to reduce its own expenditure first.
Instead, our government will proceed to deliver its budget in February, which will continue with its cabinet of 62 ministers and deputy ministers along with their ministerial residences, staff compliments, VIP bodyguards and private security. This is just one example of so many that ActionSA will be exposing in the coming days and weeks.
The #CutTheFat Campaign calls on all South Africans to draw a line in the sand and say ‘this far and no further’ to a government that continues to spend and live expensively while South Africans are suffering.
When I served as Mayor of Johannesburg, my government was able to cut R2 billion in non-essential expenditure. This was just 1 of 278 municipalities in South Africa, let alone what is possible in the 9 provinces and the national budget. From R378 million spent annually on self-promoting advertising and marketing, to over R40 million on travel and R1 million on DSTV connections, Johannesburg was spending money without regard for how hard its residents worked to earn it. The same would be true across all ANC run governments.
Countries around the world are reducing taxes to respond to the economic recessions brought about by this global pandemic. They do this to increase household budgets and increase economic activity which employs more people.
South Africans are urged to visit www.actionsa.org.za/CutTheFat to register their support to pressure our government to cut its own expenditure to fund the vaccine rollout before considering raising an additional cent in taxes.
Our message to President Ramaphosa is to show leadership by example. While there are many budget cuts that have to be made, the President should start by showing us a new cabinet that can fit into an average boardroom.