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Tax revolt! Helen Zille’s not-no-democratic moment on Twitter

Former DA leader Helen Zille appears to be calling for a tax revolt on Twitter.

Zille started talking about the issue yesterday morning, about how the ANC uses racial resentment to stay in power and yet when it is in charge the money that should be going to the poor simply gets stolen.

This is all my take, because I’m going to be quoting her tweets and responding.

This appears to be true – but there is a problem with Zille making this argument. The income tax threshold is R78 150 per annum if you are younger than 65 years.

So the vast majority of South Africans earn under that amount. The DA isn’t for higher wages, for example when the minimum wage was being debated they mooted the option to opt out of it according to Business LIVE all the way back in April.

The DA has also got a history of being anti union, so how do they address the fact that only 4.9 million people earn enough to pay income taxes?

I think at this point this is reasonable. Jacob Zuma resigned in disgrace for his leading role in state capture, and not only has the ANC not distanced themselves from him, but they’re trying to use him to campaign in KwaZulu Natal.

They’re essentially Saddam in the South Park movie – they have done this whole song and dance about how they can change, and they really haven’t.

A lot of accounting firms during Apartheid actually saw it as their duty to their fellow South Africans, to help their clients evade taxes, so there is a cultural precedent for this.

That said what is the DA’s full name? The Democratic Alliance right? We’ve got the former leader of the Democratic Alliance, essentially saying that she’s not that big a fan of democracy.

I hate to say it, but Afriforum has demonstrated an alternative approach to this can be taken in South Africa. The have hired Gerrie Nel to lead a private prosecutions unit specifically to deal with issues of political bias within the National Prosecuting Authority.

Much as I dislike Afriforum, they identified a means of creating a new accountability mechanism, and did it.

Now if Afriforum can do that, why can’t the DA?

Here is the thing, we’re not simply talking about a tax revolt here, but a revolt against a democratically elected government by a moneyed elite.

Our particular history and circumstances I think would cause this to be a lot worse, then in a lot of those cases.

It does sound a bit like a return to Apartheid where the political will of the majority of South Africans was negated in favour of a minority.

Admittedly at that time it was a racial divide rather than a class divide, but it is something I think we should be very cautious of, particularly seen as that class divide is still heavily along racial lines.

While I am very angry with our current government regarding corruption, and the way it has almost actively maintained our economic divides so as to exploit the racial tensions that have arisen out of them for votes come election time, I think a tax revolt like this should be explored when all other avenues are exhausted.

We still have a free press, we still have the courts, and it is up to the people to decide. We have to respect our population’s right to be wrong, otherwise we risk taking down a bad government and replacing it with something far worse.

  • Picture courtesy of the Democratic Alliance via Flickr.
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