The deliberate evading of a question for oral reply in the Bhisho Legislature by the MEC for Finance, Mcebisi Jonas, begs the question whether or not it is more than mere speculation that the already cash-strapped businesses in the Eastern Cape will be faced with more tax.

MEC Jonas yesterday said there was no formal proposal for the introduction of a 1 percent Local Business Tax (LBT). However, he confirmed that there was “a proposal on another level”. He also said that the current economic climate it is not a good thing to speak about extra tax, so therefore declined to do so. He also failed to confirm whether his department was in support of the potential tax or not.

The reason I raised this question was that because of the current economic climate businesses don’t need the burden of extra tax. In our experience, when questions like these are avoided, there are usually higher political forces at work behind the scenes. Could this be part of the perceived Communist takeover of the ANC?

The proposed tax was presented to the NMB Budget and Treasury Committee earlier this month, following research on alternative revenue streams. According to media reports, it is estimated that R500-million could be raised through the tax. The Port Elizabeth Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Percci) has raised its concern regarding the tax.

The DA believes the ruling party should play open cards with the public and come with clear answers regarding this proposed tax and any other plans to strengthen the province revenue stream.

For further information, please contact John Cupido, MPL on 083 336 6987

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