Taxation in itself is a colonial ‘invention’ with a long history of resistance from South Africans seeking freedom, equal rights and a better life for all.
Every single monument, statue or piece of public art is paid for by the tax/ratepayer. Sure the initial statue often receives some monetary contribution by some or other ‘bleeding heart brigade’ but from then on it is incumbent upon the local authority using tax/ratepayer funds to maintain and repair said statue.
So, like any good businessman, let us ask the simple question; “Just what is the bottom line causing all this heartache and polarisation over some damn statues?”
I would be inclined to say – money. So let us cut off the money at the source by eradicating the LARGEST COLONIAL lie ever – that of forced taxation.
No government money to maintain statues and other colonial relics like roads, hospitals etc. = happy activists.
Taxes based on ownership of property were used in ancient times, but the modern tax has roots in feudal obligations owned to British and European kings or landlords. In the fourteenth and fifteenth century, British tax assessors used ownership or occupancy of property to estimate a taxpayer’s ability to pay. In time the tax came to be regarded as a tax on the property itself. In the United Kingdom the tax developed into a system of “rates” based on the annual (rental) value of property.
Tax resistance has probably existed ever since rulers began imposing taxes on their subjects. It has been suggested that tax resistance played a significant role in the collapse of several empires, including the Egyptian, Roman, Spanish, and Aztec.
Many rebellions and revolutions have been prompted by resentment of taxation or had tax refusal as a component. Examples of historic events that originated as tax revolts include the Magna Carta, the American Revolution, and the French Revolution.
In 1848 Karl Marx, via his newspaper, the Neue Rheinische Zeitung, published this decree, adding: “From today, therefore, taxes are abolished! It is high treason to pay taxes. Refusal to pay taxes is the primary duty of the citizen!” Marx was later prosecuted for promoting tax resistance, but was acquitted after arguing that it was not illegal to promote tax resistance against an illegal government.
In 1874, a group of white, small-scale diamond miners at the “New Rush” in Kimberly, South Africa (then in a British colony called Griqualand West), launched a tax strike to protest the British colonial government’s lack of response to their grievances.
The early 1900’s also saw intensified recruiting of African labour from Northern Rhodesia, Mozambique, and Nyasaland for the hundreds of small mines working scattered gold deposits in Southern Rhodesia. Because mining profits were so low in Southern Rhodesia, wages, food, housing, and health conditions were cut back ruthlessly, and disease and mortality rates were exceptionally high. Where possible, black workers bypassed the Rhodesian mines and made their way to the Witwatersrand.
Across the Zambezi the absence of mineral wealth meant that Africans in Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia migrated to the mines in Katanga (Shaba), Southern Rhodesia, and South Africa in search of money for food and taxation; the opening up of the copper mines shifted some migrant routes to the Copperbelt. In the interwar years Northern Rhodesia and northern Nyasaland were no more than massive labour reservoirs.
In Angola and Mozambique, too, the economy was sustained by labour migration as the recruitment of labour for South African, Rhodesian, and German enterprises provided revenue for tax and trade. The Portuguese government attempted to control the flow of labour from Mozambique to the gold mines through a series of conventions with the South African government. Tax fees on migrants were a major source of state income, while deferred pay ensured the migrant’s return, tax payment, and purchase of Portuguese manufactures. Mozambique also received a fixed proportion of the Transvaal’s railway traffic. In a similar system in Angola, contract labour was sent to São Tomé; when this system was terminated after allegations of slavery arose in 1908, the São Tomé planters also turned to Mozambique for labour.
On 10 February 1906, Two policemen were killed by a group of Zulus near Richmond, Natal, following local resistance to the collection of poll tax, which became payable on 1 January 1906.
Twelve people were found guilty of the murders and subsequently executed. The executions, added to other grievances such as the increased squatters’ tax and the penetration of Zululand by White farmers, caused sporadic uprisings in the Umvoti County of Zululand. These uprisings culminated in the Bhambada (also called Bambatha, Bambata) rebellion in June 1906.
In 1913 the South African government imposed a tax on Indian immigrants, and, in one of Mahatma Gandhi’s early forays into satyagraha he helped to organize a strike, an illegal march, and a tax refusal campaign in protest.
The following two tabs change content below.