Business Day

State-sponsored theft

- Tim Bester Parktown

DEAR SIR — In his critique of the Cyprus “hocus pocus” (How the US herds the “sheep” away from the gold market, April 8), Rex van Schalkwyk wrote: “The state has now turned its attention to the incrementa­l enslavemen­t of the individual: how will this be achieved? Through socialism and coercion; by the overt and covert control of the last vestiges of individual financial freedom.”

An early example of this “enslavemen­t” was when government introduced the “pay as you earn” (PAYE) taxation system. Employers were coopted as agents of the government to deduct, before paying their employees, the taxes due on their income. And, to make it worse, the employer has seven days to pay the South African Revenue Service (SARS) the taxes deducted.

The loss of income by the employees is nothing but state-sponsored robbery. Honest employers should, at least, pay over to their employees the interest on the monies they withhold on behalf of SARS. Or the PAYE system should be lagged by one month before it is paid to the government.

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