SARS Targets Soft Spots in Touching Lives Campaign
07 August 2013
Posted by: Author: Andiswa Maqutu
Author: Andiswa Maqutu (BusinessDay)
The South African Revenue Service (SARS) is banking on a marketing campaign that encourages people to pay taxes by appealing to their emotions.
The Touching Lives campaign uses television adverts and billboards to feature stories of how individual and corporate taxpayers’ money is touching the lives of ordinary people.
Ogilvy creative group head Catherine Conradie said last week that television is an effective way to tell a story quickly and connect with people emotionally.
"It is much easier to connect with someone via TV. Billboards then act as a reminder … I have seen a couple of them and I find them touching."
One of the stories, titled Dreaming Big, features Modjadji Ramphelo, 21, who through a bursary from the Department of Higher Education was the first person from her village near Tzaneen in Limpopo to go to university.
SARS spokesman Adrian Lackay said the campaign illustrated how taxes made a better South Africa even in difficult times. "It’s never easy to part with our hard-earned money but it’s that much harder when times are tough and when people begin to question whether the contribution they make, makes any difference at all."
Direct government expenditure programmes account for 85% of tax revenue collected by the revenue service. A report by the South African Institute of Race Relations revealed that this year for every 100 people on social welfare there are only 90 in employment. The ratio has decreased from 2001, when there were 330 people with jobs for every 100 on social welfare.
In the 2012-13 fiscal year, R814.1bn in tax revenue was collected by the revenue authority, 0.5% higher than the revised estimate in the February 2013 budget.
However, this was still R12bn less than what was expected in the February 2012 budget, Minister Pravin Gordhan said.
SARS is projected to collect R985bn in tax revenue in the 2013-14 fiscal year.
Another story in the campaign, which was launched last year, is called Walking Tall and features Junior Mohlabi, an entrepreneur who was able to buy a mothballed shoe factory through a government grant.
Mr Mohlabi employs 12 previously unemployed women in the Free State and has a contract with the Department of Social Development to make 10,000 school shoes a year for orphans.
"Whether it’s taken from our salaries or charged on the goods and services we buy, it’s a contribution we all make towards the costs of running our country" Mr Lackay said.