Death and taxes are the only true certainties in life. There the comparison ends, for there is certain fairness in death. We all end up with our necks stretched before the reapers scythe. Taxes are anything but fair. The rich avoid it, the poor don’t pay it and the middle classes cower under the whip of Inland Revenue.
When I lived on the rainy isle of Great Britain, I didn’t mind paying my taxes. I got good healthcare, functional public transport, a postal service that really delivered my mail and a myriad other benefits. Although not without their own challenges and shortfalls at least my money went towards things I could experience.
In South Africa I resent every cent I have to reluctantly hand over to the taxman. Not even the Reaper wants them, they’d spend all day accounting for every piece of silver and taking a cut.
The roads are abysmal. If you don’t own a 4×4 a trip to work will take you over potholes rivalling the Grand Canyon. Despite the road tax, petrol tax and income tax I still have to fork out more in tolls to pay for the mismanagement of freeway refurbishment.
Public schooling is a disaster. Not a single Minister sends their child to a government school if they can help it. That is an indictment in itself. I think all government employees should have to school their children in public institutions. The standard would increase exponentially. Are more schools being opened? No, in fact more closed this year. And with the massive FUBAR of textbooks not arriving more inadequately prepared schoolchildren are hitting the streets.
Healthcare is crippled. Without a centralised system HIV/Aids patients can get medication from three or four clinics and sell the extra ARVs on the black market. Once more government ministers don’t use public healthcare, they go to nice private hospitals that I pay for.
Then there is the parastatal electricity provider who wants to charge us more for using less power. As more and more homes move off the grid, there isn’t the revenue generated to keep the wheels rolling so the middle classes get charged even more.
South African Revenue can spend more of my tax money on advertising campaigns telling me how fabulous they are, but the reality is that they are not. My money is going into a deep black hole and tenderpreneur pockets. It’s going on my President’s fancy new homestead, his Lear jet and his many many wives and associated offspring.
It is why although I lack faith in my President’s leadership I feel that it would economically more efficient to keep him in office than replace him. We’ve already paid for his jet, his cars and his houses. Should we get a new head of state we’d have to start all over again with a new jet, new houses and new cars, not to mention all the cronies who’d have to given a golden handshake and be replaced by new cronies. Ka-ching, ka-ching, ka-ching it all adds up to my tax money circling the drain.
The sad thing is most people shake their heads as fraud and corruption come to light, but few make the connection between it and their tax money. Stop being so passive! It is your money, our money. We have a right to determine how it should be spent and the right to demand a reckoning.