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'SAA must be placed under business rescue to protect taxpayer money'

Management of SAA may become the target of tax activism, according to the Solidarity organisation.
Management of SAA may become the target of tax activism, according to the Solidarity organisation.

An application for the business rescue of South African Airways will be brought by Solidarity, as part of a tax protest campaign it is launching.

This protest includes at least six legal actions against state enterprises, the civic group said in a statement on Sunday.

“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,” said Solidarity chief operating officer Dirk Hermann.

He said the business rescue application would be lodged against SAA and the minister of public enterprises, Pravin Gordhan.

One year ago, Solidarity wanted to bring the same case against SAA, but SAA’s former CEO, Vuyani Jarana, had made several promises to Solidarity, he said. “However, these promises have not been met and Jarana has left.

"We must protect sustainable work at SAA . . . The work of our members and taxpayers’ money in SAA is too valuable to allow the airline to crash.”

Solidarity said it was also planning actions against Denel and 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."

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 expect 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, the organisation said.

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