Sing with me: ‘Yeah I’m the taxman…’
THE WIDELY televised murder of the South African national anthem by Ras Dumisani led to police stations across the country being inundated by reports of similar songicides.
SAPS spokeswoman Roberta Engels says that more than 183 cases have been opened nationwide.
The cases vary, from a wedding singer’s brutal assault on Chris Brown’s Forever to a third-degree songslaughter reported in a Musica store, where a customer wearing headphones at the listening station didn’t realise he was singing along to Lady Gaga, to a full-scale genocide at the Lucky Star Karaoke Bar in Goodwood.
Sbusiso Mathabane, director of People Against Music Abuse and lead guitarist in indie rock band The Casiotones, says: “Songicide is a horrifying crime that tends to get lost among all the rape and murder and hijacking statistics.”
But some believe the reports are overblown. Julie Frankwright, a rights advocate for Amateur Shower Singers International, says: “Music has always been murdered. Is anyone bringing Celine Dion to book? The Insane Clown Posse? What about the guy who invented Autotune? Idols? The entire jazz canon?”
Frankwright is facing charges for slaughtering the Bananarama songbook in her home using her SingStar karaoke video game.
Engels says police are taking the reported songicides very seriously. South Africa’s tiny pool of taxpayers, referred to by government officials as “those suckers”, has been warned that a tax boycott would seriously disrupt the state’s policy of diverting vast amounts of money away from the poor and directly into the bank accounts of unaccountable cronies.
Just 5 million out of 48 million South Africans pay any form of tax, in return for which the state guarantees them sporadic passiveaggressive allusions to racism and the need for nation-building through the purchase of luxury German sedans.
However, many taxpayers have begun to doubt the sustainability of the present taxation system in which most tax goes through a process of redistribution known by economists as “looting”.
While most taxpayers said they had no problem with handing over 40 percent of their income to ensure housing, water and electricity for the poor, they had “some reservations” about 40 percent of their income being spent on heated leather seats for ministers’ BMWs, paying politically connected contractors to rebuild RDP houses that fall down every five years because they were built by politically connected contractors, and the purchase of weapons that became obsolete in 1998 and might only be useful if South Africa is ever invaded by Mauritius.
Economists, too, say they are not sure that the taxation system is workable.
“Institutionalised theft only works when you’re stealing from a lot of people and giving the money to a few,” said economist Marx Tsepeng. “Unfortunately our government hasn’t understood that if you don’t broaden the base of people you’re stealing from, you soon run out of stuff to steal.”
He said he would try to explain the situation to the government in terms it could understand, “like maybe a story-sum in which the caterers for an SACP-Cosatu conference have only provided 5 000 sausage rolls for the whole conference, but the delegates eat 4 000 of the sausage rolls during the first tea break and then don’t have any left for lunch”.
This week the government warned taxpayers not to even think about staging a tax boycott.
“You voted for us,” said Treasury spokesman Cufflinks Mpahle. “Well, okay, most of you didn’t vote for us; but the people who spend your tax rands did, and that’s the important part.”
● These articles first appeared on the satirical website Hayibo.com