Mon. Sep 21st, 2020

‘Tax revolt’ increasingly likely in South Africa – report

In the court of public opinion, the government has taken a battering on its COVID-19 response – and many South Africans are considering a tax revolt.

tax revolt increasingly likely in south africa report - ‘Tax revolt’ increasingly likely in South Africa – report

Could the government soon face an enormous revenue collection issue? Sakeliga, an independent business community network regulated by members, surveyed just under 1 000 respondents on this matter. Despite the small sample size, an incredibly clear pattern has emerged – it seems South Africans are now more than willing to take part in a ‘tax revolt’.

Citizens ‘ready to defy government orders’

Over the period from 3 to 6 August, Sakeliga conducted a follow-up study on the impact of COVID-19 and the government’s reaction to it. The focus of the current survey was to measure the state of affairs regarding income losses, emergency relief applications, and tax willingness.

A whopping 95% of those questioned said they were now less willing to pay tax, given how the government has handled the pandemic and our subsequent lockdowns. Controversial regulations and badly-behaved ministers – supplemented by a recent corruption scandal – have dismantled public trust in our elected officials:

“The response to COVID-19 in South Africa has had a significant impact on the willingness to pay tax. Nearly 95% of participants indicated that dealing with the COVID-19 situation made them less willing to comply. Attempts were also made to determine participants’ inclination to support anti-tax campaigns.”

Sakeliga statement

Could South Africa soon face a tax revolt?

The survey also asked what lengths citizens would be willing to go to in order to protest against the government. Many have entertained the idea of a tax revolt, with five in every eight respondents claiming they would even take part in an illegal campaign to withhold payments owed to the state. The data is remarkable:

  • It’s rare you see this on a public survey, but 0% would want to support the government by paying ‘more tax’.
  • It’s reported that 88% of people would support a campaign to defer tax payments for an extended period in South Africa.
  • Incredibly, 62% of South Africans surveyed said they want to avoid paying tax even in illegal circumstances.
  • Less than 1 in 8 respondents categorically rejected the idea of a tax revolt – illegal or otherwise.
9f851687 tax revolt - ‘Tax revolt’ increasingly likely in South Africa – report
Photo: Sakeliga

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