As a tax-paying South African citizen, I feel exploited by my own government. I pay VAT, fuel tax, property tax, pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) and other variations of taxes every day, but am being asked for more. I understand that we have a large population of whom most are not employed. This can easily be blamed on the history of our country in addition to varying other circumstances. I understand that the burden falls on the working class to bring about some balance. What I do not understand is why government continues to waste (the few taxpayers’) money and how we (the taxpayers) sit passively watching our money being wasted at luxury cars, estates, designer furniture, trips abroad and colossal salaries.
In my opinion, the biggest concern is that our government does not have accountable or responsible spending habits or officials managing funds. Everyday we open newspapers and see new stories of corruption, fraud and reports on other wasteful expenditure. How do we address this? How do we ask our government what they are doing/how they are spending our tax money and actually get answers?
The government is dependent on tax revenue to function. In return, we expect the government to improve the quality of life of all South Africans i.e. improving living conditions, providing good education, creating access to basic services and good healthcare. More importantly, why are they not promoting the growth of a South African middle class? It is a no-brainer that a well-educated and healthy society makes more informed decisions and understands the consequences of their decisions.
The Rand is in shambles, we are not allowed to travel freely with our passports and we often fear our safety and that of our family and friends during our everyday lives. I love my country and will always be very patriotic about South Africa, but I fear reaching a time when I’ve had enough, when I struggle to see the silver lining. I am not running away from our problems or saying that nothing here works, but at the same time I am so tired of hearing fellow South Africans being negative and complaining about the ‘situation’ we find ourselves in.
I am willing to fight and stand up for those who don’t have a voice.
What would significantly impact me personally and change my outlook on expenditure and assistance from my government as a young professional in South Africa:
· As a first time homeowner, it would be extremely helpful if government could have given me a ‘first house tax rebate’ on the sale. Doing so, I would’ve had more disposable income to fix a few surprises after moving in and could’ve avoided going into further debt.
· A tax rebate on my very first car, or for not having a car and using public transport in order to encourage people to commute to work by bike, walking or carpooling.
· Allowing graduates the opportunity to quickly get rid of their student debt by allowing them a saving on their PAYE taxes up until the age of 28 or 30?
· And the list goes on…
I would like to know: Why are we so passive about the issues in our current government? Why are we not more aggressive in choosing our leaders? Why do we sit around complaining, if we can go out there and pro-actively fight against corruption, fraud and incompetence? I just don’t understand what happened to our culture of fighting for the better.