South Africa in danger
THE same old story keeps on repeating itself - farcically.
It would be laughable were it not so tragic and criminal.
South Africans work hard to earn a living and in the process pay taxes. But the money is privatised by what appears to be a politically connected Mafia operating within the State.
For whatever they earn, the dwindling number of employed South Africans contribute a lot to the fiscus through taxes.
Citizens are legally bound to pay these taxes. It's their patriotic duty. The taxes are meant to enable the state to perform its duties to the citizens by funding its expenses which include paying salaries of soldiers to protect the territorial integrity of our country and building of toilets for the poor to safeguard human dignity.
And now that it is tax season, the South African Revenue Service - the shrewdest taxman this country has ever had - is expecting all citizens to play by the tax rules. Those who violate such rules inevitably get punished with all sorts of penalties.
Sars is rated among the best state agencies - unlike many others that are crippled by allegations of corruption.
Sars is a pride of the nation. Without its professionalism, the government would be unable to perform its duties.
There is a dialectical relationship between tax collection and government expenditure.
It is common knowledge that the more the taxman collects, the more the government spends. But all the good work that Sars does - not to mention responsible citizens - becomes a farce when efficient tax collection is not reciprocated by efficient public expenditure.
The gap determines the extent and the depth of criminality within the State.
How the state, through Sars, makes sure and does everything it can to ensure that citizens pay their dues, while at the same time fails to ensure efficient expenditure is arguably the most devastating thing - bar rape - this country experiences daily.
This week's report by the Auditor-General, which revealed that billions of rands in taxpayers' money cannot be accounted for, is saddening.
It gives a clear indication that SA is cash-flush and has the necessary resources to improve the lives of citizens.
But the members of the Mafia within the State are so adept at lining up their pockets through corrupt means they are soiling the virtues of paying taxes.
If this is allowed to continue, a cynical citizenry will begin to question Sars's legitimacy. And that's when things will begin to fall apart. Literally.