Stop companies hiding billions overseas that could ensure #FeesMustFall

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Stop companies hiding billions overseas that could ensure #FeesMustFall

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Finance Minister Gordhan is under pressure since the Panama Papers have exposed how tax loop holes have allowed dodgy fat cats and businesses to hide billions overseas. Demand action before we lose more money that could go to service delivery. 

Will you sign?

1,500 signatures

In the wake of the Panama Papers, it has been exposed how fat cats and companies hide billions overseas to avoid paying tax and engage in fraud. This hurts ever day South Africans because it means less money for education, health and service delivery. So far those exposed for hiding money overseas include J Arthur Brown of Fidentia [1], Gary Porritt [2] and Khulubuse Zuma [3].

In 2012 alone, companies in South Africa hid over $29 billion overseas to avoid paying tax to SARS. That’s the equivalent of 1300 Nkandla upgrades [4], [5]. These billions of rands can help ensure that students are able to access free and quality higher education.

How are companies hiding billions overseas to avoid paying SARS tax? Companies use armies of lawyers and accountants to find loopholes in our tax laws and regulations to pay as little tax to SARS as possible. For example, companies often set up ‘offices’ in places like Bermuda, where they ‘charge’ their South African office huge legal fees [6]. This is one of many tricks used to shift profits out of South Africa. Then when it comes time to paying SARS tax, such companies report much lower profits, which means less money for service delivery. We, the people of Mzansi pay tax through VAT every time we buy mealie-meal, and airtime, and we pay tax through our income. Many companies on the other hand are avoiding tax, and in so doing, play a dangerous game with our future as they laugh at us saying “Tax me if you can”. That’s why, together with our friends at Oxfam and Economic Justice Network, we are calling on Finance Minister Gordhan to take action.


Dear Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan,

We call on you to act now to stop big companies and the rich from hiding their profits overseas. We support efforts to put in law mandatory country-by-country reporting by multi-nationals up to the project level. This will force companies to report on their profits and earnings even in other countries. Governments should be able to exchange financial information freely and encourage cooperation and compliance between tax administrators. There should be no excuse for tax avoidance. Former Finance Minister Nene heard our voices, and attended the UN Financing for Development summit in Addis Ababa to push for country-by-country reporting. We call on you to finish what he started including establishing public registries of the owners and beneficiaries of companies and trusts. These registers should be accessible to the public and to law enforcement authorities, therefore making it more difficult to hide the proceeds of corruption, crime and tax evasion. As a first step, we urge to require companies bidding for public sector contracts to disclose their beneficial ownership.

We also call on you to ensure South Africa complies with international standards to require professionals in law and accountancy, real estate, as well as company formation agents and bankers to have in place anti-money laundering procedures and report suspicions of money laundering. We also call for the establishment of more effective oversight and sanctions for these sectors. Professional bodies should withdraw professional licenses from those implicated in wrongdoing.

[1] Fidentia money was stashed overseas – Panama Papers. TMG Digital, 4 April, 2016

[2] Panama leaks shed light on Porritt’s secret web. Lionel Faull for the Business Day 5 April 2016

[3] Trainspotter: Panama Papers – How Zuma’s family is implicated in the greatest corruption data dump of all time. Richard Poplak for the Daily Maverick 4 April 2016.

[4] Tackling Africa’s illicit finance flight. Greg Nicolson for the Daily Maverick.19 May 2015.

[5] Africa: Rising for the few- World Economic Forum (WEF)-Africa provides opportunity for leaders to consider a fairer development finance agenda that tackles inequality and poverty. Oxfam media briefing. 2 June 2015.

[6] The Bermuda connection: Profit shifting, inequality and unaffordability at Lonmin 1999-2012. Dick Forslund for AIDC.

Showing 202 reactions

  • signed 2016-09-13 09:38:49 +0200
    Minister Gordan please do justice, make them pay because the poorest of the poor are paying. These fat cats are hiding wealth that should be part of the revenue that can make free education a reality. Not only that but what again was to help to up medical health care of the state etc. We have a county to build not a jackals den, i support the efforts to put in mandatory country-by-country reporting by multi-nationals up to the project level.
  • signed 2016-08-30 11:58:33 +0200
  • signed 2016-06-24 13:58:32 +0200
  • signed 2016-06-09 07:35:15 +0200
    Stop this mass looting before its too late
  • signed 2016-05-16 15:48:07 +0200
  • signed 2016-05-13 14:12:43 +0200
    i Know of how this works if you have 2 planes that are based at the Lanseria Airport. You may exit with your Money onto plane through the Excu JET departure area. if your a Gupta then your bodyguards will carry and load the plane with all the suitcases loaded with cash for your luxury. Waterkloof Landing the plane was delayed for take off due to luggage(suitcases with cash) that was returned onto the plane to exit to a new point departure. but the Guptas best friend Vijay Mallya have an arrest warrant for his defrauding 26 banks in India. we wondered why our banks closed there company account? but not the Personal accounts? Hmmm
  • signed 2016-05-12 22:54:50 +0200
  • signed 2016-05-02 21:02:18 +0200
    Big companies degenerate handwritten invoices from a invoicebook in people or companies names that even does not exit and write a cash chque and cash it.
  • signed 2016-04-21 18:47:13 +0200
    PP small fry. No person can know/calculate/collect all tax. Money in hand/bank not yours, zero, all is tax. So most must steal/enslaved pay much more. And poor protests/get shot/killed. Only solution: No tax/some phasing. Zero tax/all your money easy to pay for own needs. All community mothers/fathers, why can SA wisdom not lead the world, please?
  • signed 2016-04-21 14:30:55 +0200
  • signed 2016-04-21 12:51:52 +0200
    Peter Webb
  • signed 2016-04-21 11:41:59 +0200
    it is time for people holding key positions to be accountable and the law to take its cause or our contry will be down and out like other African countries. we trusted these guys to uphold the law and iam afraid of my children’s future especially after Stats SA report the other day
  • signed 2016-04-20 17:39:50 +0200
  • signed 2016-04-18 16:55:58 +0200
    These people should be serving jail sentences!
  • signed 2016-04-17 16:20:50 +0200
    Impose jail time for directors,ceo,accounting officers,banks, instead of golden handshakes.
  • signed 2016-04-15 21:10:20 +0200
    I always had the believe the people is the state and the government is our employees.
  • signed 2016-04-15 12:50:57 +0200
  • signed 2016-04-15 06:44:19 +0200
  • signed 2016-04-15 02:29:33 +0200
    The same is true in every country. #StopTheBleeding Africa
  • signed 2016-04-14 13:20:23 +0200
    do right thing for the sake of our economic survival(SA)
  • signed 2016-04-14 09:26:22 +0200
    Bunch of thieving muck this has been going on for many years,imagine the taxes that could have helped SA out of 3rd world status,jail the rubbish.
  • signed 2016-04-12 14:06:35 +0200
  • signed 2016-04-11 16:59:46 +0200
  • signed 2016-04-11 16:23:15 +0200
  • signed 2016-04-11 13:41:48 +0200
  • signed 2016-04-10 21:09:45 +0200
    It’s a criminal act that deprive millions of hungry people a plate of food; shelter for the homeless; free education for all; healthcare etc
  • posted about this on Facebook 2016-04-10 09:14:01 +0200
    Stop fat cats + companies hiding billions from SARS to avoid tax #FeesMustFall #PanamaPapers
  • signed 2016-04-10 09:11:32 +0200
  • signed 2016-04-08 17:02:28 +0200
  • signed 2016-04-08 10:10:17 +0200
    What is happening to our dreams and the promise of a better life for all?