MEDIA STATEMENT FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
29 October 2018
The #TakeBackTheTax campaign has surpassed a significant milestone and is thrilled to announce that over 20 000 citizens have added their names to this important campaign.
#TakeBackTheTax was launched a few months ago and calls on Government, SARS and law enforcement agencies to urgently act and “take immediate steps” to combat the trade of illegal cigarettes.
By acting against illicit cigarette traders, the South African economy could take back at least R7 billion in potential tax revenue every year.
This money could be used to put back into communities, and areas of the SA economy that need it most.
The illicit cigarette trade is a huge problem in South Africa, yet cigarettes that cost as little as R5 remain widely available and are found in almost all informal shops in the country. This is illegal.
It is now clear that South Africans agree that this practice must stop and that Government must #TakeBackTheTax as a matter of urgency.
#TakeBackTheTax spokesperson, Yusuf Abramjee, said it’s evident that this campaign has massive support: “I’ve personally visited several shopping centers across the country and spoken to people who have pledged their full support. They are 100% behind us!”
“South Africans are tired of unethical business practices and are now demanding that the relevant authorities #TakeBackTheTax” added Abramjee.
Abramjee has also vowed that this is just the beginning, “We are committed to this campaign and are calling on all South Africans to keep signing their names to this petition so that we can double and triple this number”.
“We will continue to engage with Government and SARS at the highest levels, in an attempt to get them to act. These illicit cigarette traders and manufacturers are acting with impunity and they are literally robbing our country daily”.
Abramjee added that the R7 billion in lost money is only the tip of the iceberg.
“This is money that could be helping the poorest of the poor, money that could be invested in policing, the healthcare system, education, social grants and so much more. Why are we allowing criminal enterprises to rob our people?”
All those law abiding citizens who wish to add their names to the #TakeBackTheTax campaign can visit takebackthetax.org. They can also follow
@takebackthetax on Twitter.
By 9.30am this morning, a total of 21690 people signed the submission.
Abramjee said #TakeBackTheTax cautiously welcomes the announcement by acting SARS commissioner, Mark Kingon, that a special unit was being established to clampdown on the illicit trade.
We believe some 58 cases are currently under investigation.
“We welcome the start of some raids but so far they have not even scratched the surface. It is not small shops that need to be the focus of SARS’ efforts but big wholesalers and the illegal manufacturers themselves. We need sustained operations and we need to stop the illegal tobacco trade.
“We appeal to the public to blow the whistle on the illegal trade. Please contact SARS and pass on information anonymously.”
Abramjee said he remained hopeful that SARS was going to act.
“We want to see sustained operations targeting the big fish, not just small resellers”
At the SARS Inquiry, it became evident that suspended commissioner Tom Moyane, ordered a slow down of operations into the illicit trade.
“The tax holiday for illegal tobacco must end. We need the laws to be implemented. Citizens are calling for this. Instead of increasing taxes, #TakeBackTheTax, the billions that are being evaded,” Abramjee added.
Cell 082 4414 203
(Please call/text via What’s App)
Over 20 000 citizens have signed a #TaxBackTheTax submission calling for urgent action to stop the sale of illegal cigarettes.