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Government’s plan to pay for vaccine with increased taxes unacceptable

The civil rights organisation AfriForum sent a letter to Pres. Cyril Ramaphosa as well as National Treasury today to express its dissatisfaction with government’s plans to increase taxes to pay for COVID-19 vaccinations.

The Treasury plans on increasing taxes or introducing a new tax to pay for the COVID-19 vaccinations. The government’s plans to fund the vaccinations are expected to be announced on 24 February during the Minister of Finance’s budget speech. This is worrisome because South Africa’s tax base is already overburdened and shrank over the past few years.

According to a study by the University of Cape Town’s Liberty Institute, taxpayers from the middle and higher classes shrank from 6,1 million in 2017 to 2,7 million. This is a decrease of more than 55%. However, the number of ultra-poor people, who earn less than the minimum wage, increased by 6,6 million people – about 54%.

Moreover, about 600 000 people have already lost their jobs as a result of the draconian lockdown regulations that are enforced to curb the spread of COVID-19.

“While the ANC government repeatedly made it clear that it cannot be trusted with taxpayers’ money because of corruption, misappropriation and theft, it now has the audacity to demand more money from taxpayers. This while we have yet to see any prosecutions for state capture or COVID-19-related corruption,” says Jacques Broodryk, AfriForum’s Campaigns Manager.

Broodryk adds that the Special Investigating Unit is currently investigating irregular state transactions of more than R10 billion in respect of COVID-19-related procurement. This alone equals about half the amount that government apparently needs for its vaccination campaign.

It now also came to light that the government will have to pay double the price for vaccinations that the US and European countries will be paying, because it dragged its feet in attempting to obtain vaccinations.

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