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 , Gary Porritt  and Khulubuse Zuma .
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 , . 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 . 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.
 Fidentia money was stashed overseas – Panama Papers. TMG Digital, 4 April, 2016
 Panama leaks shed light on Porritt’s secret web. Lionel Faull for the Business Day 5 April 2016
 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.
 Tackling Africa’s illicit finance flight. Greg Nicolson for the Daily Maverick.19 May 2015.
 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.
 The Bermuda connection: Profit shifting, inequality and unaffordability at Lonmin 1999-2012. Dick Forslund for AIDC.