Sinners to the wall

Trevor Manuel has fleeced all the soft targets and now prudishly hits on social sinners in his Budget.

Trevor Manuel has fleeced all the soft targets and now prudishly hits on social sinners in his Budget.

Smokers and drinkers took the hardest knock of all in the latest tax scheme announced on Wednesday.

As the global meltdown menaces the South African economy, our esteemed finance minister obviously felt he could lift no more from the wallets of overstretched individuals and companies.

So he aimed his beady eye at sin taxes to help pay for the government's ambitious programmes this year.

The taxman will collect another 88 cents on each pack of cigarettes this year, a 13percent increase. So smokers pay the taxman R7,65 for every 20 cigarettes they puff.

Beer guzzlers got off relatively lightly with tax going up only 13 cents a can.

Manuel also took the opportunity to put the hurt on motorists by extracting an additional 47 cents a litre in higher taxes on fuel.

Drivers already pay the government vast amounts in taxes on fuel and for road tolls, but get little by way of improved roads.

Much of this money is gobbled up by inefficient administration, corruption and political pork-barrel projects.

So we can only hope that our sin taxes are invested in real development rather than for feathering the nests of the gravy train elite.

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