Skip to main content
Press Release

Budget must empower NPA and SARS to combat state looters

Monday 20 February 2023 – Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana must use his Budget statement to properly empower prosecuting authorities so they can combat criminals in illicit trade who are stealing R100 billion a year from the South African people, Tax Justice SA (TJSA) urges today.

“Despite the clear and urgent need to tackle tax evasion and illicit trade, our prosecuting authorities are severely underfunded and understaffed,” TJSA founder Yusuf Abramjee says.

“Our National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and Revenue Service (SARS) were hollowed out during years of State Capture to allow the ruinous looting.

“They’ve been left ill-equipped to carry out their essential functions and this has had a devastating impact on public finances. It’s clear that urgent action is needed to restore the capacity of these institutions so they can collect the money that will improve the life of all South Africans.”

While the nation is focused on the electricity crisis, it would be a costly mistake to ignore the menace of illicit trade.

“The industrial-scale theft being perpetrated in the illicit economy impacts every part of our lives,” Abramjee says.

“The R20 billion tax revenue stolen this year by criminal cigarette barons would pay for solar systems to take 20 small towns off the Eskom grid for ever.

“While kingpins in illicit trade amass vast fortunes, honest citizens are being denied the schools, hospitals and essential services they deserve.

“Failure to address this issue will only lead to further economic inequality, increased poverty and the erosion of public trust in government institutions.

“Minister Godongwana should use his Budget statement on Wednesday to ensure prosecuting authorities are equipped to curb this menace. They must bring the looters to justice, take back their stolen wealth and spend it on the people to whom it rightfully belongs.”