**UPDATE: More than 500 South Africans or SA-registered companies emerge in the Paradise Papers — the widest leak yet of secret records from more than 19 tax havens, as well as those of two of the largest offshore firms .
In 2012 alone, companies in South Africa hid over $29 billion overseas to avoid paying tax. That’s 1300 Nkandla security upgrades, to be exact . Illicit financial flows have cost Mzansi dearly. 400,000 families, who could have moved into RDP houses in 2012, continue to live in shacks and overcrowded dwellings.
The Finance Minister has the power to change this. If we create enough public pressure, the Minister could decide to attend a key meeting in Addis Ababa and set up an intergovernmental agency to tackle tax illicit financial flows and tax avoidance which is essentially legalised corporate corruption. If we don’t hold both the public and private sector accountable, we’ll never really tackle corruption, which means less service delivery for low-income households.
If we’re going to tackle inequality, we need a tax system that isn’t rigged to punish the poor. All of us who live in Mzansi pay tax and are contributing towards service delivery, including every time we buy airtime or mielie-meal, we pay tax through VAT. In fact, in the 2014/15 financial year, the biggest source of tax revenue came from individuals, through salary tax and VAT. We are paying double the amount corporates pay. This means you and I are essentially subsidising corporate profits while earning peanuts.
The amandla .mobi community together with our friends at Oxfam South Africa, have already started mobilising on this issue, but we must act now to make this a top priority for Finance Minister Nene.
 Tackling Africa’s illicit finance flight. Greg Nicolson for the Daily Maverick.19 May 2015.
Dear SARS Commissioner Moyane and Finance Minister Gigaba,
We call on you pass legislation for country-by-country reporting by multi-nationals up to the project level by December 2016. We call on you to issue new guidelines/protocols for the automatic exchange of information at the national and global level by December 2016.
If SARS is able to force women pay for hygiene and health, why are you failing to stop big companies and the rich from the luxury of avoiding tax by hiding their huge profits?