South African Revenue Service says contingency plans are in place to mitigate any negative impact of such protest action. File Photo: IOL

CAPE TOWN – The strike is scheduled to start on September 27 and is part of the build-up towards the national strike called by the Confederation of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) on the October 7. 

Strike may impact tax payments and tax refunds

Following the statement issued by the South African Revenue Service (Sars) on Monday, the revenue service released a statement informing taxpayers and traders that “in the unlikely event” of the protest action going ahead as communicated by the banking union, contingency plans were in place to mitigate any negative impact of such protest action. 

“All participants are rolling out plans to ensure that there is minimal disruption to Sars services. In this respect, Sars will work with all role players to avert any disruption to the country’s financial system.”

Biggest strike since 1920

Unions say they are expecting about 50 000 people to join the banking sector strike, which could be its biggest strike since 1920 on Friday. 

Joe Kokela, general secretary of Sasbo - the finance union said they had been negotiating with the banks over planned retrenchments since May. 

He said the banks came to negotiations with a “take it or leave it” approach. Kokela said the strike would affect the entire sector, including internet banking and ATMs.

Withdraw sufficient funds

South Africa’s largest finance union, Sasbo, has warned citizens to withdraw sufficient funds on Wednesday and on Thursday, as money would not be available to them at banks and ATMs on Friday. 

“People must just make sure that they withdraw enough money because the ATMs and speedpoints will not be working. We are not punishing the citizens of this country, but we are fighting job losses,” said Kokela. According to Sasbo, it is recognised by banks, insurance companies and pension fund administrators.

Use digital channels

South African banks are urging clients to use digital channels as the industry prepares for what could be its biggest strike since 1920. 

“Banks will be operating as usual on the day,” the Banking Association South Africa (Basa) said in an emailed statement on Monday. Lenders “are taking the necessary precautions to minimize disruption” related to the proposed protest action on Friday by Sasbo and Cosatu, it said.

Submit tax payments two business days in advance

The anticipated protest action may impact transactions related to tax payments and tax refunds. Sars would like to ensure that the impact of the strike on these transactions are minimised for both the taxpayer and Sars. To this end, taxpayers are encouraged to submit their payments two business days in advance and similarly, conduct any tax transactions that may result in a payment to Sasr, two business days in advance.