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Press Release

Economic patriotism should start with crackdown on traitors in illicit trade

Monday 1 June 2020 – TAX Justice South Africa (TJSA) has welcomed the Presidency’s call for “economic patriotism” and urged for this to begin with a crackdown on the “tax traitors” in illicit trade.

TJSA founder Yusuf Abramjee says: “There is nothing more patriotic than paying tax so that the state has enough money to build a better South Africa for all.

“Economic patriotism is about allowing law-abiding South African businesses – from farms and factories to supermarkets and spaza shops – to do their business, which generates revenue to help our most vulnerable countrymen.

“Regrettably and irrationally, for two months of lockdown we have endured economic treason through a nonsensical and unworkable prohibition.

“Multi-billion-rand South African companies in the alcohol and tobacco industries have been banned from making their products, South African stores have been banned from selling a bizarre list of goods and decent South African citizens have been banned from deciding where they spend their money.

“In the most unpatriotic of acts, ministers have created a massive illegal market that enriches criminals, both domestic and foreign.”

President Ramaphosa made his call for economic patriotism during an address to the South African National Editors’ Forum on Sunday. The Covid-19 crisis should result in a new and inclusive social compact between government, business and workers, he said.

“The cigarette ban has already cost the state more than R2.3 billion in lost excise taxes,” says Abramjee.

“It is the duty of government to collect that money on behalf of 58 million South Africans.

“It has wilfully failed to do so, while children go hungry and families are forced to live without a roof over their heads.

“If the President is serious about building a fairer economy, then he should immediately lift the grossly unjust tobacco ban, which is rewarding tax traitors and robbing every decent South African.”