Judge Bernard Ngoepe. File picture: Oupa Mokoena
Stellenbosch – South Africa's tax ombudsman Judge Bernard Ngoepe has expressed concern at the country's political stability.

“We (South Africans) must say to ourselves that our economy is not okay,” Ngoepe said at a Leader’s Angle event hosted by the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB) on Friday.

Ngoepe said: “My ultimate question is – do we really live in a political stable country that allows for a healthy economy?”

He said a huge deficit, a large unemployment number, and people dependent on social grants were examples that showed South Africa’s economy was not well.

“We are becoming a corrupted society. People are employed based on their political connections.”

One of the fundamental causes was that people were competing for scarce resources.

“Hospitals are overstressed. People in leadership positions should address these fundamental problems,” Ngoepe said.

“Just because there is a mere absence of civil war in the country does not imply that we are politicaly stable as a country. When Parliament opened, over 400 soldiers of the defence force were deployed for law and order. Can you really argue that it is a political stable country? Something is not right.”

Commenting on the burden of tax collection, he said he was concerned that the increased tax bracket would influence the culture of paying tax.

“One of the basis for tax collection is that we are forced to pay it but I think people should also feel morally obliged to pay tax. If we don’t spend tax prudently then people will begin to justify their reluctance to pay tax.

“You never know in what form or way that reluctance will be expressed. Some people come up with very aggressive tax evasion schemes. We are losing billions and billions of rands of money going out of the country as a result,” Ngoepe said.