Party Wants Security Tax Breather
28 March 2013
Posted by: Author: News 24
Source: News 24
Cape Town - The Freedom Front Plus has submitted a private member’s bill in Parliament seeking to allow a tax credit for people using private security companies.
The bill was motivated by the SA Police Service’s failure to fulfil its constitutional obligation to protect the public, the bill’s sponsor and FF Plus MP Pieter Groenewald said on Wednesday.
At a press conference at Parliament, Groenewald painted a disturbing picture of increasing crime figures and the ever increasing role the private security industry was playing in safeguarding citizens and their property.
Among other things, he said there were more than two million registered (active and inactive) private security guards in South Africa, as opposed to the about 195 000 Saps members.
Private security industry
South Africa had the largest private security industry in the world, with more than 9 000 registered security companies.In 2011/12, there were almost 3 000 armed response businesses - a 263.5% increase since 2005.Groenewald said that according to the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSIRA) figures, the industry’s annual turnover amounted to more than R50bn.The Saps had itself paid R161.5m to the private security industry in 2009/2010.From 2004/05 to 2011/12, robberies at residential premises increased by 78.5%.
It was thus clear that the police could not fulfil their primary task of combating crime, and taxpayers increasingly had to pay for security themselves.
"It is a double burden as tax contributions are already being made to contribute to the police’s budget. Now it is also being expected of people to pay a high premium for the safeguarding of their households, and that runs into billions of rand,” he said.
"Where the public contribute to medical and other health services, the government allows a tax rebate for individuals. This lightens the burden on government to provide medical services to all citizens.
”The same principle should apply to households who paid for security and safety themselves by making use of private security businesses, Groenewald said.
Ahead of the National Budget Speech in February, trade union Solidarity called on the government to give tax rebates to citizens who pay for their own private security.
Due to government’s failure to safeguard them against crime, South Africans now invested heavily in security, while at the same time paying tax for the service, Solidarity deputy general secretary Dirk Hermann told reporters in Pretoria at the time.
"Government simply fails in protecting citizens, which is its constitutional obligation.”
Hermann said this results in double taxation because citizens have to make provision to protect themselves, adding that this is simply not fair.
"A taxpayer who earns around R300 000 a year, will pay around R83 000 in income tax. That tax is supposed to finance his or her security, but now has to pay an additional R10 400 for additional measures to protect themselves,” Hermann added.
Providing pointers for Finance Minster Pravin Gordhan ahead of his 2012 budget speech, Fin24 users took the opportunity to ask for tax breathers on a range of issues, including private security.
Concerned about safety, Fin24 user Zaid Mahomed wrote in asking Gordhan to investigate a possible tax deduction for payments to security companies like ADT.
Another user, Frikkie Knoetze explained that services such as security are supposed to be provided by government. "Due to lack of service delivery we have to provide for ourselves, therefore we should be able to claim this from taxes.”