by Connie Mulder, Head: Solidarity Research Institute – 28 July 2019
The Solidarity NetWork has announced that it would kick-off a comprehensive and lawful tax protest campaign. This protest includes at least six legal actions against state enterprises and tax plunderers. The actions include, among others, an application for business rescue of SAA. According to Solidarity, the SAA case would be the most significant tax case in South Africa as yet.
“It is time that taxpayers turn to active and lawful tax protest. South Africa must discover the power of tax activism. We’ve already had a taste of it with the E-toll protest. Tax protest does not have to include the withholding of tax. Taxpayers can unite across traditional barriers, making use of legal instruments to call the state and tax plunderers to account,” Solidarity Chief Operating Officer, Dr Dirk Hermann, said.
Solidarity will this week still serve urgent court papers on the struggling arms manufacturer Denel to force it to pay the unemployment insurance and tax contributions it had deducted from employees to where it is due. Solidarity also started a process in terms of section 165 of the Companies Act to have mismanagement and corruption perpetrated by former Denel directors investigated with a view to their possible prosecution.
A similar section 165 process will be followed in collaboration with Sakeliga in respect of Eskom. This may have major implications for former Eskom directors such as Brian Molefe. Similar applications against other directors at other state-owned enterprises may follow.
Solidarity will also request advocate Gerrie Nel of AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit to institute a private prosecution process against Molefe. This comes after the National Prosecuting Authority has not yet taken any steps against Molefe following Solidarity’s fraud charges against him. Solidarity and Molefe will also soon meet in the Constitutional Court about monies owed to Solidarity after the court had found in favour of Solidarity that Molefe had enriched him unlawfully from Eskom’s Pension Fund. Solidarity also obtained an order as to costs against Hlaudi Motsoeneng, former SABC COO, after a court ruling in favour of the SABC 8. The fight against Motsoeneng was taken to the Constitutional Court and excepting R20 000, all Solidarity’s money was repaid by Motsoeneng.
The biggest case will be an application of business rescue against SAA and the Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan. Approximately one year ago, Solidarity wanted to bring the same case against SAA, but SAA’s former CEO, Vuyani Jarana, made several promises to Solidarity.
“However, these promises have not been met and Jarana has left. We must protect sustainable work at SAA. We saw at Denel what happens to employees if the wait on a business rescue application is too long.
This will be the first time that a business rescue application is brought against a state enterprise. This is one of the most drastic actions taxpayers are taking to protect their tax money. The work of our members and taxpayers’ money in SAA is too valuable to allow the airline to crash down,” said Hermann.
Solidarity plans to mobilise thousands of taxpayers to get involved with the tax protest and to collect millions of Rands through crowd funding. A special webpage was created on www.solidariteit.co.za
According to Hermann, taxpayers underestimate their power. The state is not working with its own money, but with the money of taxpayers. Elections aren’t the only way the state can be held accountable. There are several legal instruments that can be utilised. It is not disloyal to utilise legal instruments for accountability. In fact, it is loyal to taxpayers and ordinary South Africans, rich and poor, black and white who expects good infrastructure and services from the state, and who are entitled to it.
More information about the various cases will be revealed in the next month.