Government must give tax rebates to citizens who pay for their own private security, trade union Solidarity said on Wednesday (13 February).
"Government's failure to safeguard citizens against crime means South Africans invest heavily in security, while at the same time paying tax," Solidarity deputy general secretary Dirk Hermann told reporters in Pretoria.
"Government simply fails to protect citizens, which is its constitutional obligation. Now, there is double taxation because they (citizens) have to make provision to protect themselves. That is simply not fair," he said.
Hermann was speaking at the launch of Solidarity's Give it Back campaign, which calls for tax rebates and for police to focus largely on areas where citizens could not afford to pay for private security.
"South Africans are maintaining a private security industry of more than 400,000 security officers. [They] outnumber police officers by almost three to one. That shows the kind of investment made by the civil environment to keep themselves safe," he said.
Hermann said the number of registered private security companies had almost doubled between 2001 and 2011. South Africans relied on more than 9,000 registered security companies to protect them.
"A taxpayer who earns around R300,000 a year, will pay around R83,000 in income tax. That tax is supposed to finance his or her security, but now has to pay an additional R10,400 for additional measures to protect themselves," Hermann added.
The principle of tax relief for citizens with private medical care should also apply to safety and security.
The campaign is intended to pressure Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan to address the issue in this year's budget speech.
"For the next two weeks, you will see several kinds of action to put pressure on government," Hermann said.
The campaign has set up a website to elicit support and explain what its doing. The website is Give it Back .
According to a report by the Solidarity Research Institute, released on Wednesday (13 February), the SA Police Service in January, employed just 156,076 officers, equivalent to about 302 officers per 100,000 people in South Africa.
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