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Something is rotten in RSA, cautions tax ombud

Feb 26 2017 20:00

Cape Town - A huge deficit, high unemployment rate and growing dependence on social grants are but a few examples that South Africa’s economy is not well, warned Judge Bernard Ngoepe, South Africa’s first tax ombud.

He was speaking at a Leader’s Angle event hosted by the University of Stellenbosch Business School on Friday.

“We (South Africans) must say to ourselves that our economy is not okay,” said Ngoepe.

Commenting on the burden of tax collection, he said he was concerned that the increased tax bracket will influence the culture of paying tax.

“One of the basis for tax collection is that we are forced to pay it, but I think people should also feel morally obliged to pay tax. If we don’t spend tax prudently, then people will begin to justify their reluctance to pay tax."

He said one never knows in what form or way that reluctance will be expressed. "Some people come up with very aggressive tax evasion schemes. We are losing billions and billions of rands of money going out of the country as a result."

Ngoepe also expressed concern over the political stability in South Africa. "Do we really live in a political stable country that allows for a healthy economy?” he asked.

“We are becoming a corrupted society. People are employed based on their political connections.”

One of the fundamental causes are that people are competing for scarce resources, said Ngoepe. “Hospitals are overstressed. People in leadership positions should address these fundamental problems.”

He added that the absence of civil war does not imply that South Africa is politically stable as a country.

“When Parliament opened over 400 soldiers of the defence force were deployed for law and order. Can you really argue that it is a political stable country? Something is not right.”

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bernard ngoepe  |  sa economy  |  corruption  |  taxes

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