The Solidarity NetWork will kick-off a tax protest campaign this week, including a court application to place SAA in business rescue, Solidarity said. Picture: Reuters/Mike Hutchings

Johannesburg - The Solidarity NetWork will kick-off a comprehensive and lawful tax protest campaign this week, including a court application to place South African Airways (SAA) in business rescue, Solidarity said on Sunday.

This protest included at least six legal actions against state enterprises and tax plunderers. The actions included, among others, an application for business rescue of SAA. The SAA case would be the most significant tax case in South Africa as yet, Solidarity said in a statement.

“It is time that taxpayers turn to active and lawful tax protest. South Africa must discover the power of tax activism. We’ve already had a taste of it with the e-toll protest. Tax protest does not have to include the withholding of tax. Taxpayers can unite across traditional barriers, making use of legal instruments to call the state and tax plunderers to account,” Solidarity chief operating officer Dirk Hermann said.

Solidarity would this week serve urgent court papers on struggling arms manufacturer Denel to force it to pay the unemployment insurance and tax contributions it had deducted from employees to where it was due. Solidarity also started a process in terms of section 165 of the Companies Act to have mismanagement and corruption perpetrated by former Denel directors investigated with a view to their possible prosecution.

A similar section 165 process would be followed in collaboration with business organisation Sakeliga in respect of Eskom. This may have major implications for former Eskom directors such as Brian Molefe. Similar applications against other directors at other state-owned enterprises may follow, Solidarity said.

Solidarity would also request advocate Gerrie Nel of AfriForum’s private prosecution unit to institute a private prosecution process against Molefe. This after the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) had not yet taken any steps against Molefe following Solidarity’s fraud charges laid against him.

Solidarity and Molefe would also soon meet in the Constitutional Court about money owed to Solidarity after the court found in favour of Solidarity that Molefe had enriched himself unlawfully from Eskom’s pension fund. Solidarity also obtained an order as to costs against Hlaudi Motsoeneng, former SABC COO, after a court ruling in favour of the SABC 8. The fight against Motsoeneng was taken to the Constitutional Court and except for R20 000, all Solidarity’s money was repaid by Motsoeneng, the statement said.

The biggest case would be an application for business rescue against SAA and Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan. About a year ago, Solidarity wanted to bring the same case against SAA, but SAA’s former CEO Vuyani Jarana made several promises to Solidarity.

“However, these promises have not been met and Jarana has left. We must protect sustainable work at SAA. We saw at Denel what happens to employees if the wait on a business rescue application is too long.

"This will be the first time that a business rescue application is brought against a state enterprise. This is one of the most drastic actions taxpayers are taking to protect their tax money. The work of our members and taxpayers’ money in SAA is too valuable to allow the airline to crash down,” Hermann said.

Solidarity planned to mobilise thousands of taxpayers to get involved with the tax protest and to collect millions of rand through crowd funding on the internet.

"Taxpayers underestimate their power. The state is not working with its own money, but with the money of taxpayers. Elections aren’t the only way the state can be held accountable. There are several legal instruments that can be utilised.

"It is not disloyal to utilise legal instruments for accountability. In fact, it is loyal to taxpayers and ordinary South Africans, rich and poor, black and white who expect good infrastructure and services from the state, and who are entitled to it. More information about the various cases will be revealed in the next month," Hermann said.

African News Agency (ANA)