#TakeBackTheTax WELCOMES THE CONFISCATION OF ILLEGAL CIGARETTES FROM SOUTH AFRICA BY THE LESOTHO REVENUE AUTHORITY (LRA)

MEDIA STATEMENT

For Immediate Release
Monday.

19 November, 2018

#TakeBackTheTax has praised the Lesotho Revenue Authority (LRA) for confiscating 380 000 RG cigarettes from South Africa.

The RG cigarettes, made in South Africa, where they should have paid excise duties, were confiscated at Maseru Bridge. They had evaded both excise due in South Africa and VAT owed to the LRA.

The LRA said in a statement the breakthrough came after “routine checks on compliance of tobacco and tobacco products in Lesotho. This is the biggest single bust on illegal cigarettes in Lesotho in the past five years.”
(See statement by LRA attached)

#TakeBackTheTax spokesperson, Yusuf Abramjee, says it’s great to see a clampdown in the neighbouring country of Lesotho, adding “it takes a foreign tax authority to clamp down on illegal products manufactured in South Africa!”

Abramjee said that while “some efforts have been made locally, law enforcement agencies are still doing far too little. Illegal cigarettes are being openly sold in broad daylight.”

It is no secret that illegal cigarettes are being sold virtually on the doorstep of the SARS headquarters and National Treasury in Pretoria.

Over 22 000 members of the public have already signed a petition calling on authorities to act now and reclaim the billions of Rands in lost tax revenue.

Abramjee said: “We again call on authorities to step up their game and act decisively. The illegal cigarette trade is flourishing, and the question must now be asked as to how long we must sit back and watch the lawlessness continue.”

As we approach the budget, “National Treasury will be thinking about increasing taxes once again on law abiding citizens but what is the point when the government doesn’t collect taxes owed from criminals. The illegal manufacturers will be laughing all the way to the bank”

Abramjee, who was recently elected Vice President of Crime Stoppers International (SCI), said while it was a global problem, Southern Africa appears to be a hub for the illicit trade. He has appealed to the public to blow the whistle on those involved in the manufacture, distribution and sale of illicit cigarettes.

“While we welcome a few small efforts in South Africa, the ‘big fish’ are getting away scott-free.”

To add your name to the petition go to TakeBackTheTax.org.za
On twitter: @takebackthetax

ENDS

Yusuf Abramjee
#TakeBackTheTax spokesperson
@Abramjee

eNCA will launch a new weekly programme on crime in November.

South Africa’s crime rate is a national crisis. With over 50 murders a day, Police Minister Bheki Cele says we are almost on a par with countries at war.

As a news channel, we feel a responsibility to play our part in fighting this war, and that is why we are launching Crimewatch.

Crimewatch is a weekly programme that will be hosted by the passionate anti-crime advocate and vice president of Crime Stoppers International, Yusuf Abramjee.

“I’m excited to host the show. We want to make South Africa safe, and Crimewatch will go a long way to contributing to safer neighbourhoods,” says Yusuf.

Yusuf will use his extensive contacts and relationships with police and security structures to bring our viewers up to date on crime fighting in South Africa.

The programme will include verified footage of actual crime scenes, interviews with crime experts and updates on arrests.

Says Yusuf, “Crimewatch is going to make a difference. We will also feature wanted criminals and missing persons. We want the show to be interactive, and viewers are welcome to share with us.”

Crimewatch will also share tips on how to stay safe and protected in a crime-challenged country.

eNCA Editor-in-Chief Mapi Mhlangu says, “Over many years Yusuf has established himself as one of South Africa’s leading crime journalists and has a deep understanding of our criminal justice system. We’re confident he will use these strengths to broaden the debate over the crime scourge in the country; highlight deficiencies in the system and also give praise when due to the SAPS in their daily battle on the crime frontlines.”

Crimewatch starts on eNCA (DStv Channel 403) on Wednesday, 14 November at 9:30pm.

Released by:
Twanji Kalula
twanji.kalula@etv.co.za
021 481 4779
082 777 1226

Facebook: eNCAnews
Youtube: eNCA
Twitter: @enca
Website: www.enca.com

DStv Channel 403

THOUSANDS MORE ADD THEIR NAME TO THE #TakeBackTheTax CAMPAIGN

MEDIA UPDATE:

Sunday 7 October 2018

THOUSANDS MORE ADD THEIR NAME TO THE #TakeBackTheTax CAMPAIGN

Almost 14 000 citizens have now added their names to a campaign calling on Government to act immediately and stop the illegal cigarette trade.

#TakeBackTheTax was launched by the Tobacco Institute of Southern Africa (TISA) a few weeks ago.

The campaign calls on authorities to act as a matter of urgency and stop the illegal cigarette trade, as it is costing the country millions of rands.

“Our economy is losing billions of rands because of the illegal cigarette trade. This money could be used to get much needed resources and basic services to citizens,” said spokesman for #TakeBackTheTax, Yusuf Abramjee.

He said the last two weeks has seen a significant increase in the number of names that have been added.
At least 4000 citizens made their submission in the past 14 days.

The submission reads as follows:

“I Implore the South African Revenue Service, the Parliament of the Republic of South Africa and law enforcement agencies to act with urgency and take decisive steps in combating the trade of illegal cigarettes. By doing so we will stop the South African economy from losing R7 billion in potential tax revenue every year. I ask that the aforementioned parties conduct thorough investigations into claims of tax evasion by all cigarette manufacturers, to implement and enforce new laws to mitigate the negative impact that illegal cigarettes have on low-income communities.”

Abramjee, who is also an anti-crime activist, said that “it is clear from revelations before the SARS Inquiry that the dramatic growth in illicit trade in the tobacco sector is the result of deliberate and corrupt decisions by the former SARS administration. The new administration which has been in place for more than 7 months, has promised a lot but nothing has been done. Illegal cigarette companies have had a tax enforcement holiday for 4 years now. This national disgrace must end”

“It’s daylight robbery to see cigarettes openly being sold for between R5 and R10. Tax is being evaded. This nonsense must stop,” he said.

Abramjee said this is “tax evasion in its crudest form and the distributors responsible are using ‘multiple invoicing’ techniques as a way to mislead and trick SARS and avoid paying tax and excise duties.”

He appealed to the public to continue to add their names to the submission by visiting www.takebackthetax.org

Follow the campaign on Twitter: @takebackthetax

Abramjee said: “It’s extremely encouraging to see more and more South Africans standing up and taking a stand against this specific type of lawlessness. We urge everyone to do the right thing and join our movement.

“Let’s all become active citizens and let’s tell authorities loud and clear: #TakeBackTheTax

End

Enquiries:
Yusuf Abramjee
Spokesperson
Cell 082 4414 203
Twitter: @abramjee

*INTERVIEWS: Please what’s app

Response to #SAveSyria is ‘overwhelming’

Johannesburg – More than R7 million has been paid to the #SAveSyria #OperationSA fund within five days.

#OperationSA launched the drive earlier this week in response to calls to help with humanitarian efforts in Aleppo and other parts of war-torn Syria.

“The response from South Africans has been overwhelming. We are continuing to get pledges online and via SMS,” said #OperationSA founder Yusuf Abramjee.

Almost R14-million has been pledged for #SAveSyria. A multi-channel four hour pledge line broadcast on Tuesday evening raised R 10 028 953.00

The #SAveSyria #OperationSA campaign was launched following calls to assist victims of the Syrian conflict. Abramjee with fellow social activists Yaseen Theba and Catherine Constantinides are among those behind #OperationSA.

The pledge line saw almost 800 callers and thousands of SMS’s. The biggest single pledge was R2,3 million was from the Polokwane Muslim Trust Welfare Fund for the Al-Imdaad Foundation. It has already been paid into the special fund.

Scores of young children, some donating their spending money, also called in. A Pretoria family, who did not want to be named, even cancelled their planned holiday to donate to #SAveSyria.

The money is to be distributed to seven local charities who are doing humanitarian work in Syria. They are the Al-Imdaad Foundation, Africa Muslims Agency, Jamiatul-Ulama SA, Jamiatul-Ulama KZN, Al-Quds Foundation, Muslim Judicial Council and Islamic Relief SA.

The Al-Quds Foundation is preparing a container with food and clothing and it is scheduled to leave Johannesburg on Wednesday.

“South Africans and foreigners really opened their hearts. The donations will go a long way to ease the pain and suffering of Syrians,” said Abramjee from #OperationSA

“We are witnessing ubuntu in action yet again. The response from the public has been amazing and we will ensure that every rand raised is used for humanitarian relief such as food, blankets, medicines and shelter,” added Abramjee.

He said “it was not only Muslims who were donating. People from all sectors of society are digging deep into their pockets.

“If one person suffers we all feel the pain. It is our duty to help those in need irrespective of religion, nationality or race. We are all human.

“The pledge recall rate is brilliant. We almost have 50% of the money in within such a short space of time. I have not seen such a response in all the years of charity and community work,” Abramjee told the Saturday Star.

Yaseen Theba from #OperationSA said the pledge line was a “major success.”

He said “we were not sure how much money will come in because we are in the middle of the holiday season.

“The phones did not stop ringing. The shocking images from Syria also prompted many callers to donate. The almost R14m raised in such a short period of time shows we are a caring nation,” said Theba who directed the Call Centre Operations.

Online pledges are still coming in and the public can continue donating on the website www.operationsa.org

Donations can also be made via Whats App and SMS: 072 3 99 99 99.

Catherine Constantinides said: “Thank you, thank you, thank you. South Africans never stop to amaze. They dig deep into their pockets and they always make a difference. We have hearts of gold. I am proud of my colleagues at #OperationSA, the many volunteers and sponsors. Well done also to the media for supporting the cause.”

Abramjee said he and Qari Ziyaad Patel from the Al-Imdaad Foundation will lead a delegation to the Turkish-Syrian border early in the new year “to look at conditions on the ground and the relief operations underway.”

The Al-Imdaad Foundation is co-ordinating the visit with #OperationSA and “we want to see exactly how every rand donated by people is going to be used.”

“We will not allow money donated to be used for salaries, agents fees and admin costs,” said Abramjee.

#OperationSA will continue to work locally and internationally by engaging with partners, donors and communities “to develop projects that bring relief, hope and dignity to some of the most vulnerable people.”

Abramjee and Theba were part of the team that founded Operation Hydrate earlier this year. The civil-society group donated millions of liters of water to drought-stricken communities.

Abramjee is also Chief Ambassador the CEO Sleepout SA. This year they donated R9m to three charities involved in education. Over R20m went to Boys and Girls Town last year.

“Our mission in life should be to help others in need and create a better world,” he said.

In partnership with the Al-Imdaad Foundation, Abramjee and the Operation Hydrate team also drilled boreholes in many parts of SA.

Al-Imdaad’s Projects Coordinator Qari Ziyaad Patel said : “Our teams on the ground are ready to facilitate the relief efforts on behalf of #OperationSA and with the experience and transparency we have it will indeed be and eye opener for the group.

“The situation and difficulties faced by the Syrian people is without doubt the worst humanitarian crisis of our time and together this initiative from #OperationSA will make a huge difference.”

Saturday Star

#ABRAMJEEONHAJJ #HAJJ2016 THE DOCUMENTARY

“It makes the book come to life” – the Documentary based on Yusuf Abramjee’s photo journal #HAJJ2016 – #ABRAMJEEONHAJJ. Now, Paul Tilsley’s film, available here for viewing. All rights reserved, but you may reload this onto your social media site provided you inform abramjee.com.
A Competent Artistes television production. Order the book, and discuss broadcast / viral opportunities for the documentary, from abramjee.com

Yusuf Abramjee on #Hajj2016 A Journey – SABC Interview

Social Activist and journalist, Yusuf Abramjee has just published his book – #Hajj2016, A Journey. It’s a photographic coffee table book of his pilgrimage to Mecca, his Hajj to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Yusuf, just before we look at your journey, we interviewed you a week ago, just before your book was launched, about the extraordinary increase of the cost of visa’s for pilgrims who want to go to Saudi Arabia.

Source: http://www.sabc.co.za/news