Saturday, March 22, 2003

A Once-off Wealth Tax should be Imposed

A once-off wealth tax should be imposed to help compensate victims of apartheid, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) recommended on Friday. This should come out of the pocket of South African business and industry, says the TRC in two final volumes of its report released in Pretoria. The body's reparation and rehabilitation committee says voluntary contributions by business for the compensation of apartheid victims has been disappointing so far. A Business Trust, set up for this purpose, has so far received a total of about R800-million from the private sector. "This is a paltry amount when one considers the massive amount needed to repair the inequities and damage caused to entire communities." The committee also reminded government of its obligations. "Today, when the government is spending so substantial portion of its budget on submarines and other military equipment, it is unconvincing to argue that it is too financially strapped to meet at least this minimal commitment." The government has so far made reparation payments totalling R50-million to about 18 000 South Africans. It has been saying that a long-term approach to reparations would be finalised once the TRC has submitted its final report.  See http://www.mg.co.za/Content/l3.asp?ao=12347