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ELECTIONS 2024

Banker-turned-presidential hopeful Roger Jardine proposes R500bn wealth and pensions tax to reconstruct SA

Banker-turned-presidential hopeful Roger Jardine proposes R500bn wealth and pensions tax to reconstruct SA
Roger Jardine, the leader of the Change Starts Now party, has outlined the key features of the new party’s manifesto. (Photo: Supplied)

Change Starts Now leader Roger Jardine will announce his big idea for a Reconstruction and Growth Fund in Kliptown, Soweto, on Monday, 19 February.

The banker turned party leader of Change Starts Now, Roger Jardine, says the only way to ward off future disaster in South Africa is to capitalise a R500-billion Reconstruction and Growth Fund through increased taxes on people who earn more than R1.8-million a year, as well as on corporations and pension funds.

Jardine will unveil his party’s charter, or manifesto for the change he hopes to bring, in Kliptown, on Monday, 19 February.

The business leader and former FirstRand chairperson says South Africa needs a Marshall Plan because it is in a post-war-like condition. And that Marshall Plan must be funded by what Jardine calls a “Social Solidarity Fund” of R500-billion to kickstart the economy and plough resources into the poorest communities to close South Africa’s yawning inequality gap.

It will be funded through a wealth tax for three years, with the following increases:

  • A corporate income tax increase of 4.2 percentage points for three years (from 28% to 32.2%);
  • A tax increase for top earners (more than R1.8-million a year) from 45% to 49.5%; and
  • A 1%-a-year charge on retirement funds for three years.

In an interview with Daily Maverick, Jardine said there was support for the idea among business leaders he had met, in civil society organisations working with Change Starts Now and people he had encountered during his tour of South Africa.

“If you look at all the indicators — poverty, malnutrition, infrastructure — it’s dramatic. If you look at the impoverishment, the state of decay and the trauma in this society, it is akin to one emerging from a war. Because of the seriousness of the social condition and economic condition, we need to see it through those lenses.”

Since launching his movement in Riverlea, Johannesburg, in December, Jardine has been on a tour of inspection of what he calls a “forsaken” South Africa with “ferocious” needs.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Roger Jardine: ‘We have to fix the balance sheets of SA Inc,’ says Change Starts Now presidential hopeful

“The flower seller in Cape Town tells me she’s been waiting for 14 years for a house; she lives in a backyard with her daughter and granddaughter.

“At the Alex taxi rank, I meet a guy just released from prison for stealing mealie meal. In Jabulani, I meet a guy on a social grant. He needs to renew his grant every six months, so he wakes up at 4am and gets certified at the hospital. They see 80 patients a day, and it takes him more than five days a month to get certified. He tells me there are people in worse condition than him.

“1994 was a moment when people had their dignity restored, and we see how that dignity has been chipped away through all these lived experiences. The other day, a Member of Parliament said that load shedding is not an issue. She must tell a guy in Soweto running a butcher whose meat goes rotten after four days.

“On the first day of school [at the start of the school year in January], I visited a primary school in Sharpeville. That school hasn’t had electricity for three years, and there is almost a normalising of the dysfunction in the nation. I asked what the plan was, and there was no plan, so people were just not seen.

“A woman in Kliptown spoke about the fact that the train hasn’t been working in Pimville and what it means for them as women to have to walk to taxi ranks at the crack of dawn, half dark and how vulnerable they feel, how dangerous it is. So, from being out and about, you can feel the trauma, pain and desperation,” Jardine said.

Read more in Daily Maverick: How real is Roger Jardine as SA opposition’s next big hope?

It may seem counter-factual for a banker to propose the most radical wealth taxes out of all the party manifestos unveiled so far, but the condition of South Africa’s people means there are no other options, he said.

‘We need to intervene’

“You don’t need charts and bar graphs to tell you what’s happening in SA. Go to a township on a weekday to see the state of unemployment.

“People are in a desperate situation, and we need to intervene. How do we fix this economy while dealing with the social pressure points? We carry on as we are; we will eventually have to look at tax increases as we run out of resources. This shouldn’t be seen as a wealth tax but as a social solidarity fund.

“We used experts and modelling tools; we looked at different [tax and levy] levels to consider what people could bear. The long and short is that it allows that segment which has [a lot] to extend a hand to the rest of society.

“This three-year limited duration also addresses the fact that people are pretty jaded about how their taxes are used. Conceptually, it will need its law, and it [the social solidarity fund] will be chaired by an eminent South African. It will represent a public-private partnership and show the contributor how its money is being used.”

Jardine said the fund was an extraordinary intervention to boost capability and one of the oldest fiscal instruments around — for countries emerging from a financial crisis, a pandemic, or a war.

Similar ideas included the US Marshall Plan and Australia’s deficit levy, he said.

“Our situation is unique and our national revenue fund is stressed, corporates are stressed. This should unlock growth and reduce taxes down the line, but at current indicators, we are heading into a cloudy and unsustainable tax regime, given the social requirements in our country.”

Jardine said the top economists, civil society and other leaders he worked with believed the multiplier effect of a fund of this magnitude could see the creation of five million jobs over the medium term from infrastructure investment and targeted investment in growth sectors.

Change Starts Now also plans massive grant increases, a food security initiative to deal with near-famine conditions in the poorest parts of South Africa and expanding early childhood education, he said.

He said after contesting the election, the party wanted to be part of a progressive coalition of parties to govern South Africa.

The manifesto

In the run-up to the elections, Daily Maverick has been presenting major political party manifestos to help you decide whom to vote for. This is a summary of the Change Starts Now manifesto that will be launched in Kliptown on 19 February.

Introduction

“We are like a country after war,” says Change Starts Now, setting the scene.

Before sharing its Imagined South Africa, it describes the country’s challenges as ferocious.

“What might a South Africa that hadn’t been forsaken, and its people largely abandoned to unemployment, poverty, crime and inequality by its political leadership look like?

“It might be a country where men and women, young and old, capable of working, would have good jobs; and where those unable to do so would have social assistance and decent healthcare when sick and infirm.

“It would be a land of sufficient food and clean water for all; of a stable, reliable supply of clean and sustainable energy necessary to power our growing economy.”

Then, it sets out its fundamental ideas to power such a society.

Basic income grants/social support policy

  • End the segmentation of society into permanent “winners” and “losers”;
  • Significant increases in social and welfare grants from the cradle to the grave;
  • Urgently and publicly evaluate and consider proposals for universal basic income;
  • Apply the principle, “…the most vulnerable receive urgent care and can live with dignity and hope…”; and
  • Only 46% of South Africans have a running tap in their homes — water is an emergency.

Climate change/environment

  • Promote renewable energy;
  • Be a global supplier of critical minerals; and
  • Set up green industrial parks to become net exporters of electricity.

Crime and corruption

  • South Africans live in fear;
  • Decentralise crime-fighting to improve safety — introduce more community-level policing;
  • Use partnerships effectively;
  • Get illegal guns out of the system through dedicated intelligence-driven, specialist firearm units;
  • Initiate state/community shared safety plans; and
  • Restore and strengthen trusted, targeted and specialised policing units.

Economy

  • A Reconstruction and Growth Fund capitalised and ring-fenced outside the fiscus to protect it. Funded by a once-off, three-year temporary reconstruction tax. This will raise R500-billion to fund immediate social protection interventions;
  • Funded through a wealth tax of 1.5% a year for three years;
  • Corporate income tax increase of 4.2 percentage points for three years (from 28% to 32.2%);
  • Tax increase for top earners (more than R1.8-million a year) from 45% to 49.5%;
  • A 1%-a-year charge on retirement funds for three years;
  • Relentless focus on electricity, logistics and water infrastructure to increase GDP growth to above 2.5%;
  • Competition in network industries to increase growth by a further 1%;
  • Utilise the private sector for a massive infrastructure investment drive through public-private partnerships; and
  • Accelerate investment to 22% of GDP over five years to help create five million jobs and reduce unemployment by 37%.

Education

  • Expand early childhood education — only 1.6 million of 11 million children aged o-4 years old are in education programmes. Fix this.

Food

  • Emergency relief for an epidemic of hunger;
  • One in five people don’t have enough food to eat — increase the child support grant; target support for children younger than three facing stunting;
  • Increase support for subsistence and smallholder farmers; and
  • Make nutritious, basic foodstuff cheaper.

Governance

See Professionalisation.

Health

  • Centralise strategic decision-making and decentralise operational decisions;
  • Treat public hospitals as autonomous facilities;
  • Develop a bridge between the public and private systems;
  • Give provincial hospitals greater autonomy to contract;
  • Incentivise medical schemes to purchase from either public or private health;
  • Allow private practitioners to follow their patients into the public sector;
  • Develop a universal framework for emergency care; and
  • Adopt the recommendations of the Health Market Inquiry.

Housing

  • End apartheid spatial inequality by promoting mixed-income, high-density housing development; and
  • Reorient the housing budget to increase demand-side subsidies rather than direct-supply programmes.

Jobs

  • Use infrastructure investment to drive massive employment — five million opportunities;
  • (See Economy above).

Land

  • A National Land Council to review the different aspects of land reform.

National Health Insurance – NHI

  • Adopt the recommendations of the Health Market Inquiry, which focused on excessive private-sector costs, and make significant proposals;
  • Build bridges between the private and public systems;
  • Decentralise health services; and
  • Jardine says the current NHI Bill is a plan for a R600-billion state-owned enterprise, built on a failed model.

Power cuts

  • A relentless focus on electricity, logistics and water infrastructure;
  • End load shedding in three to four years; and
  • Focus on renewable energy and on becoming a critical minerals exporter of note.

The professionalisation of the civil service

  • This is a pivotal focus for Change Starts Now;
  • It proposes the wholesale improvement of public service and administration; and
  • Models for viable institutions of shared governance that harvest the best ideas, energy and collaborations.

Reality check

It’s a beautiful and short manifesto that starts with an essay to envision a future state for South Africa — this resonates with the Freedom Charter, the Constitution and the National Development Plan, which all start this way.

The tax increases for a Reconstruction Fund will require a lot of influence work, because South Africa’s small tax base is already highly taxed and poorly serviced, with high dependency levels on individuals.

Cool things

The health, food security and early childhood education proposals are excellent. DM

Gallery

Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Hendrik Pienaar says:

    This man is delusional; anything that is gathered through this tax on the already overtaxed taxpayers unfortunate enough not to be connected enough not to pay tax and spent a lifetime saving to provide their own pension will be STOLEN again.
    Where are the life style audits and the prosecutions of the state capturers??

  • Nick Griffon says:

    Another delusional individual.
    Stop taxing honest hardworking Taxpayers. Stop stealing money and there will be enough to do anything you want.
    Luckily there is no chance he will even come close to winning the election.

    • Random Comment says:

      Another spot-on comment, like Hendrik Pienaar’s, above.

    • J vN says:

      Fortunately Jardine, like the other rats-and-mice wannabes, will be history after the election. His public servant background is showing with his supremely stupid ideas to tax people and companies more and more to feed the cadre-infested beast.

    • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

      Yes Nick, he will never win – but every vote he takes in losing is a wasted vote that could have been used to do real good for us all.

      That is the real danger of all these no-hoper parties with their untested, on-paper-only dreams represent to the future to our country.

  • Willem Boshoff says:

    Economic stagnation/decline and skills shortages are the two headline items of our fiscal woes yet Mr Jardine thinks it’s a good idea to make it even less attractive for businesses and professionals to stay in SA. The (upper) middle classes are taxed to death and urban inflation has been outstripping wage increases for years now. Small and medium enterprises that should be the engine of the economy are buckling under tripple burdens of economic stagnation, load shedding, and crime. It’s only the elites who can absorb additional tax without impacting their ability to make a living. Let Mr Jardine and his buddies pay then. If anything SA is in urgent need of a cut in taxes.

    • Willem Boshoff says:

      I need to add instead of throwing more taxes at SOE back holes like Eskom and Transnet, these entities need to be privatised and funded with private investment. The market electricity supply market needs to be opened up for competition and investment in private electricity generation (solar etc) needs to be fully tax deductible. The economy needs a shot in the arm to generate the tax revenue to fund all the other ideals (security, healthcare, education etc).

  • Andy Macdonald says:

    Dream on, mate. Get real. All those big bucks will be looted and wasted. What is needed is government by honest, intelligent, non-looters. Not possible in South Africa, alas. It’s a failing state and always will be, like all other African countries.

  • Brett Redelinghuys says:

    Great ideas and I would support you and your initials.
    1/ First you need to guarantee that the bucket is fixed. We cannot and will not throw more money into the leaking bucket.
    2/ Either make the criminals who caused the leaks in the bucket pay OR Banish them and stop wasting more money on sham prosecutions. This money could be better used elsewhere.
    3/ Bring back the Scorpions and support them so that we don’t go down this road again. The bucket you are creating will have lots of cadres trying to tap it….
    4/ Make it illegal to be in a politics and own a business. MANDATORY Lifestyle audits for all including family.
    Then you have my support.
    Good luck

    • Alan Watkins says:

      I was going to write something like this so I will just support Brett’s comment instead of repeating. In essence, Jardine, show us that you can and have fixed the bucket, and that those responsible for our woeful condition are prosecuted, jailed, and their ill gotten gains confiscated, then I will support you. Problem is there will a lot of other parties also competing to fix the bucket

    • G T says:

      I absolutely agree. According to the article the funds raised by the proposed taxes will be capitalised and ring-fenced to protect them. How this would work in practice isn’t at all clear as the collection and spending of tax money is subject to many existing legislative and regulatory provisions which would have to be circumvented in order to keep the funds entirely separate from the fiscus. I suppose this could be managed with carefully thought out enabling legislation but then there is the risk that the circumventions themselves create additional opportunities for corruption.

  • Terril Scott says:

    And who will administer this too, too tempting pot of new money and how, if nothing is getting done now, will anything constructive get done with it? And how many times will the three years limit be repeated?

  • Ben Harper says:

    La la land

  • Mike Lawrie says:

    He has missed the point completely. Start by scrapping BBBBBEEEEEE and ensure that competent people are employed across the board, and this country will have a chance of recovery.
    And while he is about it, bring back hanging. Someone who is hanged never commits another crime.
    You dont’t make the poor rich by making the rich poor.

  • Miles Japhet says:

    Key issues of labour policy, BEE and most importantly a complete review of competency of all civil servants to ensure merit based appointments only, need to be addressed.
    Excellent plan but sadly our democratic system, where uneducated people are unable to discern, is manipulated by emotion and not sound policy. Best of luck and thank you.

  • Andrew Molyneaux says:

    Almost all of the “Election Manifesto’s” that are appearing at this stage of the election cycle, including that of Mr. Jardine, will require access to a somewhat missing “Treasure Chest” of unlimited funds – Forget not that the ANC has already found it and stripped it bare – Populist Politics will not resolve the situation for anyone, from the poorest of the poor to the filthy rich – What is needed is a business plan not a political plan !!!

  • Martin Kunhardt says:

    Very pragmatic suggestions. unlike the ANC who want to sting the lower paid workers and middle income earners, to fund their largesse who, among others benefitted grossly from BBBEE handouts

  • Mark Wade says:

    Increasing taxes on already over-taxed corporate sector – and high-net-worth individuals – will backfire as those are the very corporations and individuals who know how to move their money off-shore, and have been doing it for decades. It will not result in gathering more taxes, but result in less income being revealed.

  • Rob Scott says:

    Not sure which irks me the most. The fact that he is asking or the fact that the real culprits of the mismanagement get away scot free. Government has mismanaged the country for decades and now the man in the street is asked to bail them out. No I say. The government must cut R500b out the budget. If that mean only 10 ministries rather than 30 – so be it. Blue lights, Eskom, Transnet, SABC, Post office, Home Affairs to name a few can do with less money. The government squanders R500b a year – let alone over 3 years.

  • This is more encouraging than I had hoped for. The increase in tax is going to be a hard sell. To incentivise the haves to further support the have nots, I would challenge all politicians and high level civil servants who earn above the wealth tax cut off level to make an additional 1% contribution to the social solidarity fund.

    • Paddy Ross says:

      Many of the ‘haves’ already support the ‘have nots’ directly but have no desire to pay more taxes that would never reach the ‘have nots’.

  • Mkulu Zulu says:

    And what to do about reparations from the looters and thieves of the ruling party, that has had a huge party of fingers stuck in the till for 30 years.

    • George Olivier says:

      Agreed Mkulu. I also think that something along the lines of what has been suggested is inevitable if we are to avoid total anarchy. If business and the super-rich but into this suggestion, it will come with conditions that put the thieving politicians and their associates behind bars. It will also come with very strict governance and hopefully, boot the ANC out of office once and for all.

  • andrew farrer says:

    Unfortunately I don’t see anything about scrapping BEE, the root cause of corruption and failure in SA!

  • rodhering says:

    Forget it, most of us are sick and tired of politicians pissing our hard earned income down a black hole.

  • Homo Capensis says:

    Without root and branch political reform, and a return to meritocratic appointments in all levels public service, raising more money from the overtaxed minority will just accelerate South Africa’s economic and social decline. The problem has never been a lack of funding…the problem has been the misallocation and waste of this once rich country ‘s resources through endemic corruption, nepotism, incompetence and racial targeting.

  • Bruce Gatland says:

    He just lost my vote with his uber-socialist madness proposal.

  • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

    Looking good in theory is one thing, practical implementation across the whole of South Africa quite another.

    Mr Jardine, I would be very interested to understand why aren’t you joining the DA and helping build on a known working base that already has so much in place. Is it because you are another personality politician in it for self? (because we already have too many of those)

    • Bob Dubery says:

      If he joined the DA now, what would he be? Whose message would he be preaching?

      If he wants to spread HIS message then he has to start on his own, and then he can think about co-operating with other parties.

      • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

        My point is based on the following observations:
        1. no party will be perfect (and I will literally fall over laughing should anyone try and argue this)
        2. Z opposition parties of 1 member have Z times less chance of having any impact than a single party with Z members

        Following on from this, a single good enough opposition party is most likely to achieve the best outcome for all of us.

        So unless a politician has valid tangible objections to DA policies (which I have yet to see from anyone), then for anyone starting a new party, rather than “Why are you starting your new party?”, our national initial question would best be framed as “Why are you not joining the DA?” (and thus driving up Z members rather than Z parties)

      • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

        I will let existing coalitions speak for me instead of my trying to persuade you regarding the dysfunctionality of having many parties, but I will mention the bloated cost and ineffectiveness to all of us of many parties trying to have their own effective structures on limited budgets and personnel.

        More parties = more stupid, whichever way you slice it.

        So my plea to everyone is – stop trying to think you’re cleverer, and that you have the perfect new party to vote for. You don’t.

        And never forget, it is easy to talk a good game as a new party but every single one is going to hit the South African governance swamp, and there is absolutely no reason to expect they are going to be able to deal with it any better than the existing opposition parties out there.

        Don’t be dim and waste your vote – make the effective choice and vote for the biggest good enough party with a proven track record of service delivery under extremely difficult circumstances.

        For my blood there is only one party that does this. The DA.

        So I will ask my question again:

        Mr Jardin, what is it that is so bad about the DA’s policies that you are unable to join them and add strength to their offering?

  • William Kelly says:

    When I read pensions tax I switch off. Whose money is it anyway? The way things are going why bother working? It all gets confiscated by the tuck shop bully. And what they don’t steal you’re told what to do with. Its my money. I earned it. Not you. Leave me alone.
    That’s who I would vote for.

    • Karen G says:

      hear, hear!

    • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

      You raise such a good point. To mess with people’s pensions is to do 2 things:

      1. Betray the lifetime’s trust of people who responsibly forewent pleasures because of government commitment to compensate them for doing so; and
      2. Even more critically, ensure that noone will trust government commitments ever again, resulting in zero saving and an absolute nightmare for the country as these citizens age with no savings.

      Pensions belong to the people who worked for them. To even consider touching them is a crime against humanity.

  • David McCormick says:

    A social solidarity fund of R500 bil. With the current bunch of political leaders, it will be gone in a year.
    As the South African tax base has been decimated by Government policy, it is time to chase after pension savings? Is it ok to have pensioners destitute too?
    How about first ensuring that the mineral wealth of the country benefits all South Africans by ensuring that the logistics system works, duties are paid, taxes levied. This worked for Norway.

  • Thomas Woods says:

    Margaret Thatcher said it best: “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.”

    • Graeme J says:

      There’s nothing wrong with socialism in Western Europe. It works perfectly well because most of the citizens contribute to the tax base.

      The problem is the lack of an effective tax base in ZA. All the ANC is doing is to buy the popular vote with child support grants and an NHI that is doomed to fail. Let us not mention the “1 million houses in 10 years”.

      • Ben Harper says:

        Not necessarily all, Franc for example is teetering with an overburdened system and ever increasing taxes, I know a few people that work in towns/cities close to the border of neighbouring countries who chose rather to live in the neighbouring country to avoid the French Taxes

  • reynekjh says:

    Roger does not say anything really to get rid of corruption.
    What about the lack of moral values everywhere?

  • Bob Dubery says:

    An honest politician, who is promising us blood, sweat and tears! Good gracious.

    Tax should be a contract between government and citizens. You pay us this. We will do these things. It’s the latter that is the big ask here. The ANC may go, but the civil servants who are on the take now will still be on the take. So this has to be part of the vision – strong mechanisms for ensuring that the money goes where it is supposed to, that contractors really do deliver.

    Other than that he at least seems to have done some sums, come up with an answer in which 2 + 2 actually makes 4. So that should push him towards the front of the queue.

  • Middle aged Mike says:

    Right. So you intend punishing the people who have been paying for the looting by increasing their tax rates to fix the damage caused by the looting on some wafty promise of tax reducing in the future. The people he intends to plunder already have a greater overall tax burden than wealthy Scandinavians and get close to FA for their spend. Delusional muppeteers.

  • Michele Rivarola says:

    I would have assumed that a person of Jardine’s intellectual calibre would know of Aesop’s tale of the ant and the grasshopper but alas it seems not.

  • FarFrom TheCrowd says:

    Twit. Reduce the civil service by half, use the pensions of the current crop of parliament, traditional leaders, provincial and municipal councils and SOE “directors” and cut the traditional leaders’ budget by 75% and your 500 billion is there in less than 2 years. There is more than enough tax floating around to achieve any of these objectives, there must just be the will to not spend it on salaries and pensions for useless hangers on. Get your greedy eyes off my savings (which is after tax money already) and my earnings. But, he will sing his siren song of giving money for doing nothing and will get some of the deluded to vote for him.

  • Hendrik van Zyl says:

    The elephant in the room however is the population growth which will just accelerate in the future. It is nearly impossible to create wealth at this pace.

  • Karl Sittlinger says:

    Social Solidarity taxes have a way of either being extended ad infinitum (just ask the Germans), or be converted into other taxes at a later stage. Once introduced, it is also likely that the thresholds creep downwards, initially from the very rich to the upper middleclass, but rapidly towards the rest of the middleclass and eventually all tax payers.
    Taxing pensions and savings is even worse, and will facilitate capital flight as people will remove all money in this country for fear of being taxed (multiple times on the same income).

    Another commentator mentioned you need to fix the bucket first, riddled with holes of procurement fraud and BEE regulations that clearly waste huge amounts of money.
    Before suggesting any increases, especially ones that will impact business and the jobs that go with it, there needs to be a concerted and visible effort to curb corruption and waste and it will have to show some clear accountability. Only then can you start asking for tax increases.
    Because right now, even with a new party name (and zero governing experience as a party), I simply don’t buy that these increases will help beyond making even more connected people richer, increase dependency on social handouts (while increasing the population faster than the GDP) all while still expecting the tax payer to fund everything themselves from education to crime prevention over to infrastructure services including electricity and water in addition to these high and growing taxes.

  • Geoff Coles says:

    Pie in the sky stuff!….. increased taxes won’t stop after 3 years

  • VAUGHAN HARTLEY says:

    I can’t see anyone who stands to be over taxed more than they already are, agreeing to this so that the powers that be and their connected few can simply just steal more. How about stopping the patently corrupt pathological liars from looting and stealing whilst they are in the process of destroying the country?

  • Frederick Williams says:

    If you look at all the indicators — poverty, malnutrition, infrastructure — it’s dramatic. If you look at the impoverishment, the state of decay and the trauma in this society, it is akin to one emerging from a war. Because of the seriousness of the social condition and economic condition, we need to see it through those lenses.” A vivid description by Mr Jardine, of the state of our country, yes, Mr Ramaphosa, you, the cronies before you, and the arrogant present people in power, new so well of the crumbling deteriorating effects of theft of a nations well being, is it that
    you do not comprehend the situation, not see failures of your policies, are so determined to shrug your shoulders to criticism, ‘You wont be told, we do it our way, the way our brothers and comrades function in the rest of Africa, destruction, and 70 million South Africans have seen the outcome,must live and bear the brunt idleness and theft. Where’s the Ubuntu, the so called rainbow nation, the democracy you praise you fought fore, and yes South Africa sighed a relief, when it came, and now, yes Mr Jardines words ring true, we are a nation ‘akin to emerge from a war’, punch drunk, anxiety for this beautiful countrys future, anger, a whole young generation uncertain about their future. We televise matric results, gleaming about improved results, and evertime, we wonder, where will they find a job, to earn a desceny salary, not the R350 grant, to lull the masses of a caring givernment. Where to now Mr President. Who now, to take us forward, who will stand tall, true leadership.

  • Colin Louw says:

    And there I thought “Here is someone who might have a handle on the real problem”. Nope – Mr Jardine is not on the same planet as most cogent sane SA folk. Raise taxes?? You are nuts – we are over the top of the Laffer curve – I wonder if he has ever read about that? Do that and the gross tax income will drop. As will the number of HNWI on a permanent basis – now if he doesn’t understand that let me use little words – rich folk and also middle class folk will emigrate and never come back hence never pay tax in SA again. Corporation will move HQ’s to more tax friendly countries and guess what? Never come back again.
    Not a word about the root cause of over expenditure – BBEEE costs upwards of 30% of every Rand the Goonment coughs up on equipment, consumables etc and that is worth at least R300Bn pa. The bloated (Un) Civil (Dis) Service is another R100bn pa – time to do the 3 straw trick there (It’s a simple procedure take 3 folk in the same position , let them draw straws, shortest is fired, of the two remaining put them in a second draw 6 months later, those with positive assessments get excluded, the balance draw straws, Bob’s your uncle you have a streamlined public work force).
    No mate you are living under a rock somewhere and have no clue about real economics – talking to folk in Kliptown is not the answer.

  • John P says:

    This is just another form of socialism. Take from the rich and give to the poor, great idea on paper except most of the money will just move into the pockets of the government connected. What is left will fix nothing unless the underlying causes of the rot are sorted out first.
    Halve the amount of ministers, deputy ministers, advisors etc. Reduce the salaries of those who remain.
    Prosecute all those ministers who are suspected of corruption.
    Get rid of BEEEEEEEE.
    Reduce the size of the civil service dramatically.
    Remove the unions from any alliance with government.
    Encourage local business and manufacture with additional tariffs on imported goods, especially those originating in China.
    Perhaps once this is done we can move forward.

  • Nicol Mentz says:

    Stick to Banking. Reminds me of IDOLS, where everyone thought they could sing!

  • Con Tester says:

    As most other commenters have already pointed out, the core of this proposal is to legalise additional theft from the taxpayer and dressing this deplorable plan up as a “Social Solidarity Fund,” variously a “Reconstruction and Growth Fund,” to make it easier to swallow. That’s very, er, Big Brother of Mr Jardine who says precisely nothing about streamlining and cleaning up existing governance structures, which would free up ample money to address most of his lofty goals.

    You can count on me *not* supporting this sort of devious, unsanitary madness.

  • Johan Buys says:

    Correct, we are a country at war. The ANC versus Citizens.

    The reality is that private capital is already redirected from growth assets and expansion into private solar and standby power solutions. Now they expect businesses must, in addition, give money to the State?

    Nobody has any expectation that the R500 billion will be spent effectively and efficiently. Expansion of the grants would eat R150 billion per year.

    How would that 1.5% wealth tax work? Net assets, net liquid assets? Directly owned wealth or indirectly owned through the company and tax structures that the really wealthy utilize? If somebody owns a R100m farm they probably (1) have huge debt on operating assets (2) don’t have R4.5m cash to pay this wealth tax for three years.

  • Chris Lee says:

    Sorry mate – but no. There is no more magic money tree. I am sure I speak for a lot of people, taxed to the hilt, watching those taxes literally stolen right in front of our eyes, with zero accountability. I intend to look after #1 from here on in.

  • A Green says:

    I think most comments missed the point: if we don’t pay now, we will definitely pay later. Sitting in body corporate meetings, where one needs to consider special levies, this is exactly the case. We need to change something, now. Regarding the BBBEE issue, the manifesto mentions wholesale improvements to the entire administration – that will then deal with the myriad of legislative issues we have that have not brought about the change it intended. Personally, I like this. It reads more like a turn-around strategy than the other manifestos I’ve read. I am warming up to this idea of ChangeStartsNow.

    • Chris Lee says:

      Well – let him start there, and optimise the revenue stream as it is, and let people see that benefit first before proposing tapping us up for more. I would first need to be convinced that any further invitation to fund the South African state is going to see a positive return on my investment.

    • Con Tester says:

      So, you think that taking from people’s retirement savings is like a special levy? Ditto adding more financial burden on the productive section of the population? Sorry to burst your bubble but there are some fundamental differences that invalidate your analogy: (1) The body corporate raises a special levy against *every* unit owner, not just the ones who are wealthy; (2) a special levy does not cut into anyone’s retirement savings; and (3) the body corporate has a direct fiscal responsibility to the unit owners to spend a special levy wisely and efficiently, and *only* on the things for which it was proposed, failing which there are adverse consequences for the miscreants.

      And a body corporate that doesn’t manage its finances efficiently will soon see itself in a heap of trouble. Jardine doesn’t provide any safeguards in terms of prudent funds management other than a handwave in the general direction of “ringfencing.”

      So much for missing the point.

    • David McCormick says:

      Er- we have paid now!

    • P B M .. says:

      I cannot actually believe that you are serious when you say you are “warming up to this idea of ChangeStartsNow” as you put it! To compare Body Corporate special levies with the “Social Solidarity Fund” just proves to me how ridiculous your logic is. I am the Chairman of a medium sized Sectional Title Development, and I can assure you that if I and my Trustees do not spend the money collected from special levies which we have introduced to fund various projects, exactly as we said we would, I as Chairman and my Trustees would’ve been gone before the next AGM! Yes you probably have sat in a few Body Corporate Meetings, asleep. Or you have an incredible imagination….

  • rosemary janches says:

    first manifesto that doesn’t just harp on what we already know, but identifies where the most impactful interventions can happen, how to finance these and how the finances should be managed and the mulitplier effect of said interventions. The fact that there is a specific timeline for the envisaged taxation, shows that a lot of thought and planning has gone into this manifesto.

  • M D Fraser says:

    Proper population growth control is essential. Encouraging population growth by increasing social grants is exactly the opposite of what’s needed.

    • Ben Harper says:

      Step 1 – scrap the child support grant
      Step 2 – scrap the war veterans grants, COVID distress relief grants and social relief of distress grants
      Step 3 – introduce and stringently enforce child support payments by absent fathers

  • Godfrey Parkin says:

    The only people more tone-deaf to the reality of economic hardships than politicians are bankers. When a banker becomes a politician, hide your wallet.

  • Dear Roger, you cannot tax a country into prosperity, that is a very basic principle you should understand. You can create a climate for economic growth, and that will create prosperity for all of our citizens. I agree with you that RSA is in post war situation

  • bigbad jon says:

    Shifty-eyed cadre banker unable to criticise the ANC, unwilling to get the loot back from the state looters. More taxes? How original. -not!

  • Louis Fourie says:

    No. This is not the easy way out because you will only levy more taxes on those that are already in the tax net, as opposed to taxing those that habitually hide income and profits and evade taxes. In addition, more taxes will simply go down the same big black hole of irregular, wasteful and corrupt spending. We can agree that a Martial Plan, and substantial additional tax revenue, is necessary, but South Africans will reject this like we rejected eTolls, not because we don’t want to pay taxes but because we won’t pay more taxes until the tax evaders pay their fair share and the fiscal discipline is in place.

  • L Dennis says:

    Another looter can’t build just dilute.

  • Wilfred Walker says:

    The problem with socialism is that it all collapses when you run out of other people’s money. We’re already in that place now, so taxing people more will create a further dis-incentive for the private sector to invest and grow their businesses and for individuals to work harder to earn more. Economics 101, Mr Jardine. Maybe you and your advisors missed that lecture.

  • Arron Steyn says:

    Recover the BILLIONS looted from the State, i.e. State Capture, Zuma’s illegal defense expenditure, Eskom, Transnet, SABC, Telkom SA PostOffice etc corruption and it will not be necessary to tax the working class who keeps this country running! A tax on the “wealthy” and pensions are not the way to go. Is that the best you can come up with?

  • Jacques Otto says:

    Creating Jobs based on infrastructure development has the same life span as the 3 year fund. Then what. We are in this crises because of theft. This man is proposing to lift corporate tax and income tax. The 5 million temporary jobs you create for infrastructure development will see the same amount of Jobs lost as corporates seek greener pastures due pressure on the bottom line, lack of profit to expand and create Jobs. You will shrink the economy. Another issue is who will get the contracts for the infrastructure develoment and what will the criteria be. Will it be new jobs or will same old connected companies who outsource, over price and dont complete the jobs get the go ahead.

  • robertbreyer says:

    As former chair of FirstRand, raising R500B seems doable. FirstRand make R10B in profit last year, they alone could easily stomach a Billion in extra taxes, per year. But to suggest that as an opening line in your election manifesto is just arrogant and delusional.
    Nobody likes paying more taxes, but at the end of the day, most DM readers would probably be OK with paying more taxes if it got the job done.
    But the political reality is that your campaign Roger is a day late and many Rands short. Another one of the 298 political parties that will just take away votes from the DA. And welcome to the Weimar Republic.

  • Mark Gory Gory says:

    “Ring fenced” is key. Otherwise more of the same endless trough feeding

  • Bill Haslam says:

    Surely we must have learned that the Government, especially our Government, is not very good at running things. Giving more money to Government sounds stupid to me. What about encouraging private enterprise to solve the problems by providing incentives. Much better to give than to take when trying to solve a problem!

  • Matthew Quinton says:

    “Change starts now?”

    More like “More of the same bullshit”

    I want to hear a politician START with prosecution. Drain the swamp. Punish the criminals. Then you can move on to removing every single SOE (SAA, ESKOM, TRANSNET, PORTNET, DENEL, SASOL etc etc ) sell EVERYTHING and let the private sector take control.

    Then abolish B-BBEEE, and all demographic based hiring legislation.

    Then go after the Guptas, the Zumas, the cigarette mafia and the booze mafia. Then go after the various Western Cape and KZN government linked gangs. Go after the scrap metal industry and the coal thieves.

    Then clean up SAPS and the SANDF, fix our borders and fix home affairs.

    THEN you can charge more tax… but then you wont need to!

  • T'Plana Hath says:

    First, we need the Nuremburg Trials, then you can come and talk to me about a Marshall Plan.

  • ST ST says:

    Top marks for putting feet on the ground to engage the neglected. Top marks for ambition and seeking solutions. Granted SA doesn’t seem to have many viable options. Low marks for an apparent failure to note some obvious unintended consequences of your vision. It’s short-term but it needn’t be shortsighted. The connection between the economy and other sectors seems to be also missed. E.g., not much said about education, the quality of education being a very urgent matter that will and is confining the youth to eternal unemployment whilst foreign workers fill the lack of critical skills. We are thankful for the contribution of foreign workers in terms of skill and tax-base etc. But we must reduce social grants and crime.

  • Mauritz Hansen says:

    Just for interest sake, for those who think these plans will bring the total tax rate higher than Scandinavian countries:
    Denmark: The top statutory personal income tax rate is 55.9%. Since Denmark does not levy separate social security contributions, the maximum individual tax rate would remain at 55.9%.
    Norway: The top personal income tax rate is 38.2%. Social security contributions (combined employer and employee) account for approximately 18.8% of total labor costs for a single worker with no children earning an average wage. Adding these contributions to the top income tax rate gives a combined rate of 57% (38.2% + 18.8%).
    Sweden: The top personal income tax rate is 52.3%. Social security contributions account for about 29.2% of the total labor costs for a single worker with no children earning an average wage. This results in a combined rate of 81.5% (52.3% + 29.2%).

    • John P says:

      Yes but the Scandinavian countries get something back for all these taxes, education, health care, a working police force, clean cities etc. etc.

  • Jim Beam says:

    You are going to do all of this with R500 billion? Well, what happened to the R600 billion from Covid that went awol within 3 months? I think this guy is way out of touch with reality. BTW Anthony Turton stated that fixing the water alone will cost R1 trillion.

  • Michael Pampallis says:

    Malema on steroids!!

  • Glyn Morgan says:

    Sorry, old chap, you have just lost my vote.
    In fact, you never had it.

  • Jim F. says:

    Yup, all this Tenderpreneurs he engaged with are super keen to contribute to his socialist levies, social justice don’t you know, doing the right thing, etc.. Of course none of them are actually registered at SARS so hey, perfect solution.

  • Tothe Point says:

    Money alone will never solve the problems. A clean, competent government will create the correct environment to create the resources needed to restructure the country. The private sector is sitting on billions due to the hopelessly incompetent out of touch communist ANC.

  • Anon Cowherd says:

    > At the Alex taxi rank, I meet a guy just released from prison for stealing mealie meal

    I’m sure that’s what he told you, but can you believe him? Bear in mind only 2% of robberies end up with a conviction (according to Wikipedia, I don’t know the number for theft, but it’s surely lower).

    Recently I encountered was a beggar who told me she has 9 children. Riiiiiiight.

    > That school hasn’t had electricity for three years, and there is almost a normalising of the dysfunction in the nation. I asked what the plan was, and there was no plan, so people were just not seen.

    We all know national government is defunct, but I think this school’s principal and administration should at least partly be held to account. What have they done to try and address the situation (besides “waiting”)? Why is there no power? Because of no connection, or perhaps because of unpaid bills?

    > This shouldn’t be seen as a wealth tax but as a social solidarity fund.

    It’s a wealth tax and will create more incentive for wealthy South Africans, who are already best place to emigrate, to leave the country, thereby ending up paying zero tax and reducing the taxable income.

    Norway recently introduced a wealth tax, resulting in more emigration of the wealthy in one year than the last 13 years combined.

    Also, it’s too late in the day for word games. There’s no solidarity with thieves and crooks, and we all know this “fund” will be looted.

  • Jan Vos says:

    “…R500bn wealth and pensions tax to reconstruct SA…” Nê?

    All this means is that there will be more money to steal by whoever “governs” the country.

    Here’s the thing: No matter WHO comes into power, they will be just as the corrupt ANC. Prepare to meet thy doom, RSA – you’re already halfway there.

  • BOB Rernard says:

    Really? Is that the best he can come up with? More taxation? He seems no better that the circus currently called government.

  • Jane Crankshaw says:

    May I suggest that he looks at all those politically connected people who don’t believe the tax laws apply to them ….or don’t know how to fill in a tax return first before robing current tax payers already paying 48% of their earnings in taxes!

  • Liz Simon says:

    At last, a man with a plan !

  • John P says:

    After re-reading this article and some more thought about it I have decided I welcome Jardine and his manifesto. It is so populist and socialist that he can only draw votes from EFF or MK supporters and certainly not from the DA.

  • Lounge Lizard says:

    Hi Roger – go read up about the Laffer Curve. Then come back with some ideas that pie-in-the-sky fairy tales. Bzzz – thanks for playing. You are the weakest link.

  • Marina Hall says:

    Agreed, our beleaguered country needs some form of Marshall Plan, but the funding thereof needs careful consideration. Tapping the wealthy, corporates, and pension funds for R500bn seems the easy (read lazy) way out, smacks of populous rhetoric, and is tantamount to treating the citizenry and companies as the government’s personal ATM.
    Pension funds (ironically, in particular the GPF where poor investment choices in the past have affected the fund) need to be treated as sacrosanct and not an easy way to balance the books when government has a shortfall. Those who have been privileged to contribute into funds all our lives, have done so to not become a burden on the state in our old age. Taxing pension funds for short-term gain but long-term pain is not the answer!
    What guarantee is there that it would only be 3yrs?
    Circa 1979, a “loan levy” was exacted that was repaid. If your proposal was a “loan levy” compact, it would probably be more readily accepted…a fairer give and take.
    Perhaps some fiscal restraint and efficiencies, or recovery of State Capture billions (if not trillions) need to be considered before more taxes. Political mileage; immense!
    SARB reported states tax collection has almost quintupled from ’79 to 2024 – R7.622bn (worth R267bn today) to R1,2 trillion. The population has merely doubled. Suggests enough in the coffers?! It’s the allocation and efficiencies that need careful attention!
    Prosperity=trade, favourable conditions for FDI, fiscal prudency.

  • James P says:

    Not before you plug the colander, and that is a near impossible task unless you can round up and jail all the cadres.

  • Amadeus Figaro says:

    Poor guy
    The moment I saw undefined inequality I knew I was in for disappointment. What is inequality? Is it wealth inequality or what we can call inequality of access? The inequality which the fellow is referring to appears to be wealth inequality. Wealth inequality is the favourite hobby horse of the cadres and their fellow travellers. It is politically sexy.

    It is wealthy inequality which will see R100b minimum go to addressing that in the form of preferential procurement or empowerment premium while the remainder will see leakages through incompetence etc.

    Are the poor concerned about wealth inequality at the top. No. For the poor inequality means inability to access good schools, quality health services, clean environments, decent accommodation, living environment, nutrition, warmth etc. That is basic needs. And in reality that is not inequality but poverty.

    The poor are not relatively deprived (like the cadres and tenderpreneurs think of themselves but are absolutely deprived (poverty).

    The impoverished are also found in RDP houses which should have been council housing stock and some being rent to buy not given for free.

    Jardine the ex cadre persists in the conflation of poverty and inequality and the same redistributionist not accompanied by productivity focused policies.
    According to the government the major driver of poverty is unemployment. Hence SA’s problems cannot be solved without solving the central problem of enabling households to earn incomes.

  • Camille Augustus says:

    I was actually considering voting for him! I don’t fall into that tax bracket, but I do pay tax. And they will come after us at some point. And I am not previously advantaged. I can’t afford to leave. I love my Country and don’t want to leave. But it’s a really worrying, daily struggle. We pay massive taxes, pay for our kids’ schools, university, health care, armed response, housing, pension, electricity, rates, etc: we get very little back from the taxes we pay. We work ourselves to death. We consider selling our houses because the interest rate is strangling us. We can’t afford to leave… but our children will. If we have to give them everything we have, they need to go and find a better life somewhere, without this ever tightening noose around their necks. We’ll educate them and say goodbye. They’ll go grow another country’s’ economy. And with them goes our future leaders.

  • Steve Du Plessis says:

    The only thing dumber and more arrogant than a politician is a banker

  • Nicky Blooms says:

    I hope no one votes for his political party. This is highly delusional; we have been fighting for no one to touch retirement funds. 500 billion Rand? What happened to the 500 billion Rand stimulus of Covid-19. Not everything that was supposed to!

  • virginia crawford says:

    R500 billion- a fraction of what has been stolen and “misspent”. Why not try and get that back first? The rich are necessary and so many have fled already. So my vote is not going to Jardine. I expect more creative solutions. A skills and lifestyle audit of government staff would save millions by getting rid of the incompetent and corrupt. How much money leaves in the form of remittances earned by illegal migrants? Tax evasion and fraud along with the myriad white collar crimes cost us millions. All the unpaid bills even when people can afford it.

  • Iam Fedup says:

    I know this is a cheap shot, but why doesn’t he start by giving away half of HIS wealth as an example. I’m afraid he’s just another political scoundrel out to line his pockets first, and screw the country.

  • Ex Pat says:

    “Socialist governments traditionally do make a financial mess. They always run out of other people’s money” – MT

  • Peter Smith says:

    I was really hopeful about Jardine and the fact that he has support from business leaders. But after reading this I have lost all hope. A ToDo list with money thrown at it and no clue on how to implement it using thieving comrades. The war is not over, the enemy is everywhere.

  • Amadeus Figaro says:

    Poor guy
    The moment I saw undefined inequality I knew I was in for disappointment. What is inequality? Is it wealth inequality or what we can call inequality of access? The inequality which the fellow is referring to appears to be wealth inequality. Wealth inequality is the favourite hobby horse of the cadres and their fellow travellers. It is politically sexy.

    It is wealthy inequality which will see R100b minimum go to addressing that in the form of preferential procurement or empowerment premium while the remainder will see leakages through incompetence etc.

    Are the poor concerned about wealth inequality at the top. No. For the poor inequality means inability to access good schools, quality health services, clean environments, decent accommodation, living environment, nutrition, warmth etc. That is basic needs. And in reality that is not inequality but poverty.

    The poor are not relatively deprived (like the cadres and tenderpreneurs think of themselves but are absolutely deprived (poverty).

    The impoverished are also found in RDP houses which should have been council housing stock to begin with (and not given for free) with some being rent to buy.

    Jardine persists in the conflation of poverty and inequality and the same redistributionist not accompanied by productivity focused policies of the cadres as an ex cadre.
    According to the government the major driver of poverty is unemployment. Hence SA’s problems cannot be solved without solving the central problem of unemployment. Putting incomes into SA households.

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