As the national debate hotted up around Helen Zille championing a tax boycott, it was to be expected the ANC government and its leaders would attack her. But it was ironic that one of those doing the attacking – saying Zille had gone berserk and should be locked up – was the ANC’s head of elections, Fikile Mbalula.
It clearly escaped his notice that Zille’s proposed citizen protest was related to the avalanche of accusations that the ANC’s top officials are on the take. Mbalula is one of those people inside the ANC glass house of these allegations, having had an expensive holiday in Dubai, which has still not been satisfactorily explained away.
While we believe Zille is anything but mad, we do not believe that a tax boycott will do anyone any good. It will further inflame racial tensions; it will hurt only the poorest of the poor who are reliant on government-supplied help (which comes from tax) and the politicians who are her real target will still live comfortably.
At the same time, Zille is encouraging people to act illegally, because failure to pay tax is a crime. That is the law of the land. However, we think the Western Cape premier’s controversial call does highlight the reality that, under the ANC, tax has been wasted on an industrial scale. Apart from corruption, theft and mismanagement, the government has also permitted people in many areas to continue to steal water and electricity and rack up billions in unpaid bills to Eskom and other providers.
There are those who believe such policy amounts to redistribution of wealth by stealth, and moves to control investment pension investments look like more of the same. We do know that taxpayers are tired of being continuously milked. But a tax boycott is not the answer. The ballot box is.