Alleged subtle racism, black tokenism and protection of minority interests are the reasons now proffered by former ANC parliamentarian Makhosi Khoza’s for her swift departure from civil society lobby group the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa).
She joined the organisation, formed in 2012 on the backbone of the pushback against the e-tolling system, as its executive head responsible for local government in May last year but quit barely a year later.
Speaking to The Citizen yesterday, Khoza said the organisation’s mission was noble but that its principles were not aligned with hers: of fighting corruption and working for poor black people in local government. She suggested that Outa director and founder Wayne Duvenage was running an individual show and that it was best to leave than destroy the organisation, which she said was “an extension of a person”.
Khoza said that when she joined Outa, which expanded its mandate to challenge corruption in 2016, she was looking forward to being on that platform to fight tax abuse.
“I was looking forward to growing Outa and I was excited but, when you are inside, you do realise that somehow me and Outa, we were not aligned in some of the things,” she said.
She said, once inside, she discovered an organisation using membership fees to keep poor black people out of its representations, making the group an advocate of minority interests.
Khoza said the last straw was when the Sharpeville community, which sought the organisation’s intervention in issues of service delivery and allegations of corruption, was denied membership because they were poor.
She said she was approached by about 5,000 community members who wanted to join Outa but could not afford the R100 membership fee – and their offer to pay R20 was denied. She said she felt like a black token in the organisation, a “rented black”, but Duvenage said he did not know what she was talking about because Outa did not have a membership fee requirement to be a member.
“Anyone can sign on and enter your own amount if you want to. We’ve not prevented anyone to join Outa and we can’t,” he said.