There are very few citizens of any country in the world who welcome a government’s annual budget.
Taxes are always too high, services are never adequate and the administration always does not spend wisely.
Yet, here in South Africa, we have additional reasons to complain about how our government appears to be trying to tax us to death.
Yesterday, Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba (who probably won’t last long in the job) delivered plenty of bad news to long-suffering ordinary South Africans.
He announced value added tax (VAT) would go up from 14% to 15%; that there would be no inflation-linked relief for taxpayers; that there would be increases not only in the fuel levy but that VAT will now be added to the cost of diesel and petrol.
And just when you thought you could drown your sorrows, he increased the “sin tax” on booze, as well as tobacco products.
South Africa is now in the Top 10 of the highest taxed countries on the planet.
Apart from the direct and indirect taxes, taxpayers also fork out for “hidden taxes” – such as the costs of education, private security, medical aid and insurance for property necessitated by the high crime and bad driving rates.
But, we’re now, it is clear, paying the costs of corruption which was allowed to run wild during the years of Jacob Zuma’s presidency.
The state capture project and myriad other instances of corruption and blatant theft have cost us tens of billions of rands.
This is the money which could have been used to genuinely be making a better life for all, but was instead siphoned off, ending up in people’s pockets and other countries.
Now you have to make good that loss, because it will be a long time before Zuma and his cronies “pay back the money”.
Just call it the “Gupta tax…”