News in South Africa 24th November:
1. Liquor traders plead for no alcohol ban:
Liquor traders are pleading with the government not to act hastily in dealing with the fourth COVID-19 wave.
They fear the imposition of further alcohol bans will hurt players in the sector. Having been slammed with several outright bans on alcohol over the last 20 months of lockdown, traders again fear the heavy-handed tactic striking the industry once again.
The National Liquor Traders’ Council says it’s willing to work with government to fight the pandemic.
It says the state must keep to its promise and follow the science.
They are also calling on President Cyril Ramaphosa to talk to them about fighting the virus while saving jobs.
The sector was hit hard by continuous booze bans as the country tried to curb the spread of the virus.
2. SARS extends filing season:
The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has extended the filing season deadline for non-provisional individual taxpayers to 2 December, from 23 November initially.
While this will give taxpayers some breathing room, South Africans should be careful of further severe punishments for non-compliance, said Jean du Toit, head of tax technical at Tax Consulting SA.
In a statement on Tuesday (23 November), SARS said it is ‘acutely aware’ of systemic issues the organisation has experienced and the impact of load-shedding on taxpayers, which made it difficult to file returns. Because of this, the revenue collector said it will extend the deadline.
Taxpayers should see the concession as a final shot across the bow to those who plan to file late or not at all, said du Toit.
“It is important to note that this filing season may come with more serious sanctions when compared to prior years. Some may need reminding that National Treasury and SARS successfully pushed through an amendment with effect from 1 March 2021, which essentially holds taxpayers to a higher standard of compliance,” he said.
“Prior to this date, taxpayers would only be subject to criminal sanctions under the Tax Administration Act if they knowingly and willfully flouted their tax obligations. In other words, if a taxpayer out of ignorance failed to submit their return, they may suffer monetary penalties, but they would not be guilty of a criminal offence.”
Du Toit said ignorance is no longer a defence, and you can now be held criminally liable for failing to submit your return, even if you act without intent.
3. DA takes over 3 major metros:
With councils now established in all three major metros in Gauteng, the DA has emerged as the biggest winner, taking leadership roles in Joburg, Tshwane and Ekurhuleni.
However, the victory comes with the caveat that the roles come as a result of smaller political parties, with no formal coalition agreements in place. The party will need to lobby smaller players to pass important things like budgets and policies, and this could result in very volatile governance over the next five years.
The ANC, meanwhile, has been left licking its wounds, with reports of infighting and turmoil within its ranks in Gauteng.
4. Black Friday warnings:
Black Friday, on 26 November, is just days away.
While there may well be some genuinely big discounts, the shopping frenzy also features limited stock, price trickery, fake discounts, and mass psychological manipulation.
For retailers it is all about maximising consumer spend and getting rid of old stock. And with the last two years being among the country’s toughest from an economic perspective as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s likely stores will be doubling down on their efforts to offer seemingly unbeatable deals.
Many have already started, with months-long pre-Black Friday sales.
Here are some stories you may have missed in the run up to the big day:
Black Friday isn’t charity. Here’s how retailers want to trick you into spending more than you should
Yuppiechef’s ‘4 for 3’ Black Friday deals aren’t as impressive as they sound – here’s why
Groceries, electronics, appliances: these are the items shoppers will be eyeing on Black Friday
Black Friday travel deals return this year, but don’t expect pre-Covid discounts – or many flights
Hirsch’s is offering big Black November discounts on SMEG products. Including on the D&G R1,3m fridge
Buyer beware: Some pre-Black Friday deals aren’t actually offering you any true saving
5. Push for Zuma to return to jail:
The Helen Suzman Foundation, the DA and AfriForum have approached the courts to have Jacob Zuma sent back to jail, saying that there has been absolutely no indication that the former president is terminally ill, making the granting of his medical parole unlawful.
The groups argued in court on Tuesday that the medical parole was granted against the recommendation of the medical parole board, and Zuma’s outings after being released were proof that he was fine.
Zuma’s lawyers called the applicants racist and right-wing. No specific ailments were mentioned, but the legal team said he needs 24-hour care, and he couldn’t get it jail.