Following the publication of yesterday’s mock letter to the Receiver Of Revenue, I received many direct messages on my twitter account; I received more direct messages than public mentions, in fact, though I will only show the public messages here.
In the letter, an as-yet imaginary business bloc announced its intention to #BoycottSARS until certain key performance indicators were met by government.
The DMs all essentially said, “I love the idea but my business and I just couldn’t…”
Public objections read as follows:
So at this moment, there is potential to transform the country but most of it remains underground. People stay hidden out of fear that if they come to the surface, they will do so alone.
But a path walked in fear and hiding is death itself. By intimidating so many into staying hidden, the ANC has taken away people’s first existential right – the right to proclaim and live truth, truthfully.
The tragedy is that our people are giving this right up without a whimper. They are being silenced.
When you can give that right up without a fight, there is no line. You can give your children up, along with your home and hard-earned belongings (that’s a whole other talk). When you can go that gently into the sweet goodnight, nothing of yours belongs to you. I say, “rage”, for God’s sake, “rage, against the dying of the light”. Rage, rage, gainst the dying of all that is good and pure.
Your second existential right was not written in the Constitution because it is not a right that can be given: it is a right that you must take without permission, even as a thousand voices tell you that you have no right to exist:
You have the right to be brave.
This is true for every person who believes in and works towards the kind of South Africa that Nelson Mandela envisioned us living in.
Fear is a self-fulfilling prophecy. If people’s voices erupted to the surface in unison, organized, they would win. If they stayed hidden thinking it’s safer that way, they’d lose just as they thought anyway. Civil disobedience is how history changes and history changers practice civil disobedience.
There is a flaw in our democracy. Through mechanisms that have been analyzed ad nauseam, the ANC keeps two things constant: the tax rate and the vote percentage. As long as these two are there, government officials can do as they please. The ANC hasn’t had to perfect the art of governing, merely that of campaigning. For it stands on these two legs with unshakable stability. The two legs, as per the info-graph below, are votes and taxes:
And since we’ve failed to kick the one leg, for that was never in any one person’s control, we must perhaps work kick the other leg down or to show that it can be kicked down at people’s behest. In other words, 2015 should “kick off” with the decisive question of whether running a country is about votes (campaigning) or taxes (governance). Governing is a science, not an ideology.
What the above really means is two things.
The first is, “We actually have power and can make a difference but we shouldn’t because this power that we have might vanish as we use it”. Do you know where that sort of thing happens? In nightmares, where you fall in mid-flight. And do you know what all nightmares have in common? Fear. Fear takes our power and uses it against us.
The second thing in this objection is, “Let’s not get to the root of the disease because if we do, we might lose the patient”, and this is valid, that may happen. This person below, however, was willing to take the risk:
Which of these persons are you?
The #BoycottSARS campaign I’m suggesting would take us close to the edge of chaos without throwing us over. I know this because
- The tax boycotters will still be in the room, negotiating – except this time, on their terms. Rather than become invisible to the system and making everyone wonder why there is a huge tax gap as this tweeter below says, tax boycotters will be right there, telling SARS exactly how much they’re withholding until their KPIs are met. Tax boycotters will pay taxes when agreed-upon results start coming through. That is how the campaign is structured.
Incidentally, I suggested that very thing about two weeks ago. But it would impact one fraction of revenue. The bulk comes from business. Hence, #BoycottSARS, which is for business. I also know that this campaign wouldn’t destroy the country because
- Even if every tax payer got behind #BoycottSARS, there would still be tax being paid – just less than what’s currently being paid until the country improves.
What if the government doesn’t play along? What if, as per the commenter’s fear, they allow this above stalemate to boil over into chaos? It’s a possibility. But what would we prefer? To not know whether our rulers would let the country go to hell in a handbasket? Or to find out and deal with it now once and for all? Because, by not #BoycottingSARS, we’re only delaying the inevitable and drawing out the pain. Unless awoken by the shock of #BoycottSARS, selfish leaders would finish the country anyway.
We’re trapped in a narrow corridor with a bad government, and the only way out is mass action. It’s civil disobedience. No banned political party will tell us that. No voice from heaven will shout, “Now!” We must grow up and see to it ourselves. Step back from this moment, and view it from history’s perspective. Up until now, many of us have been very passive recipients of democracy. I almost – almost – understand why ANC supporters view us with such disdain. Freedom was just given to us. Of course they’ll resent us if we demand the thing in its meaningful entirety, replete with a fully-functional infrastructure. But it’s still our right to demand it and our duty to fight for it. If we don’t then maybe they’re right to take the food right our of our mouths, like the song says, so we can watch them eat it…
Jacob Zuma resigned from Presidency because if our Constitution means anything, it is not even necessary for him to step down: there is nowhere left to step down to. He has de facto resigned and he has been resigned by the people. #ZumasResigned and is now #FormerPresidentJacobZuma.
And, sooner or later, with or without my online prompting, businesses will #BoycottSARS.
Or they will leave South Africa.
In the struggle for survival, it always comes down to fight or flight. It will. Watch.
The element of surprise means immediate tactical advantage should one choose to fight.
#BoycottSARS would be exactly that kind of surprise.
More tweets for insight and inspiration:
(@bryanallot is cool)
Or, as Tata said,
If you also want your I’ve-Had-Enough-Of-This-S**t Tweet featured on this blog, give me a follow
Keep up to date by following the hashtags #ZumasResigned, #FormerPresidentJacobZuma and our latest arrival, #BoycottSARS (which was started in response to allegations that Zuma is using and abusing SARS’s checks and balances; if those allegations are not true, Helen Zille is waiting for Zuma’s lawsuit notice to hit her desk.)
Or drop me a mail – SKhumalo1987@gmail.com – and we’ll chat.