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ANC wants a tax on graduates

By Olebogeng Molatlhwa Political Reporter | Feb 07, 2013 | COMMENTS [ 238 ]

TERTIARY graduates be warned! You may soon be slapped with a "graduate tax" the minute you find a job.

A resolution on such a tax was taken at the ANC's conference in Mangaung, Free State, in December.

Delegates participating in the education and health commission resolved that consideration "must be given to a graduate tax for all graduates from higher education institutions".

Details on the mooted tax - as presented in the ANC's comprehensive list of conference resolutions - are very scant, with no explanation given about time lines for implementation or the likely percentage to be levied on new job market entrants.

As yet, the said tax is only a consideration but delegates would expect that it will be made a reality since it was adopted as an official conferenceresolution.

The secretary-general of the South African Students Congress Themba Masondo, who participated in the education commission, confirmed the agreement to introduce the tax but said Sasco opposed it.

"As an organisation, we raised a number of issues with this tax. They are not so clear about how it will work," said Masondo.

"It simply implies that those who graduate and find work will have to pay this tax but that means those who don't find work will not.

"It's not fair and that is why we are opposed to it."

Masondo dismissed the "targeted tax" in favour of a general levy that would see high-income earners paying more.

And there will certainly be a lot of protestations from those who will feel they should not be taxed, Masondo predicted.

ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe referred Sowetan to the party's education sub-committee chair Naledi Pandor - who is the also minister of home affairs - when approached to explain how the proposed tax would work.

Pandor had not responded to questions by the time of going to print yesterday.

According to ANC resolutions, the graduate tax looks to be a means to bolster the coffers of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), which is expected to play a bigger role in the state's plans to introduce free education to all undergraduate students.

Free education would likely be introduced next year, according to the set of resolutions.