Theory of a tax revolt: Is South Africa on the brink?

Trust in government, not tax rates, determines citizens’ attitude to taxation.

Roshelle Ramfol, University of South Africa

Tax revolts date back to biblical times. Throughout the ages, they have exhibited similar symptoms of a decline in taxpayer morale and confidence in a government’s ability to manage public finances for the greater good of its citizens.

Recent public outcries in South Africa signalling dissatisfaction and concerns over the management of public finances suggest that the country could be on the brink of a tax revolution.

While taxpayers have a civic duty to be tax compliant they are not donating taxes in an effort to be altruistic. There is an expectation of a return in some form. Recent events suggest that South Africans are becoming increasingly restive about paying taxes to a government mired in allegations of corruption. This explains why sentiments of a tax rebellion are growing.

In a recently published paper, I reviewed some of the literature on tax compliance. My aim was to establish the theoretical point where tax compliance shifts to resistance. I also extended my analysis to South Africa by extrapolating the legal implications of a tax revolt.

The study found that the fine line between tax compliance and resistance lies where the government creates an equitable distribution between collective costs and benefits. Often the threat of a tax revolt is a measure to renegotiate the terms of fair exchange and a mechanism to mobilise the association that disintegrated between taxpayers and government.

Perceptions about fairness

Governments use tax policy to achieve a number of objectives. These include steering economic growth, changing the behaviour of citizens and raising money to finance programmes.

Tax policy and its implementation is, therefore, the closest and most contentious interface between a citizen and a government.

People’s perceptions about the fairness of a fiscal regime are crucial.

Simply put, tax revolts arise when the government receives tax payments but fails to deliver the perceived reciprocal benefits.

Society is not naturally motivated to pay tax. Voluntary compliance is fostered by establishing consent, trust and legitimacy in a fiscal regime. This means that the government must ensure that compulsory taxes are acceptable, fair and beneficial to citizens.

One of the main motivations to rebel is when a tax regime is perceived to be unfair and oppressive. A tax revolt is effectively a mechanism for citizens to renegotiate the terms of exchange.

A tax revolution may not merely be based on a rejection of taxes. It may be a mechanism to seek restorative action to improve government performance.

Factors that drive compliance

At the outset, tax compliance decisions are determined by an individual’s tax morale. The benefits of promoting tax morale hold immense potential for tax revenue generation. A taxpayer’s level of tax morale is a strong motivator to comply with – or resist – taxation. Countries demonstrating higher ratios of tax to gross domestic product have higher tax morale.

A combination of psychological and sociological factors influence tax morale. Public perception studies conducted by the OECD confirm that a citizen’s age, gender, religious beliefs, level of education and trustworthiness of government are determinants of tax morale.

Another factor affecting compliance is whether taxpayers believe that there’s a contractual agreement between them and the government under which social security is exchanged for paying taxes. Government’s credibility, or trustworthiness, plays an important role in this fiscal contract.

In South Africa, this contract has been under strain following instances of widespread corruption and wasteful expenditure by various state-owned parastatals and government institutions. These events have negatively affected both parties: the government’s credibility and competence and citizens’ tax morale.

Under these circumstances of distrust and malaise, a taxpayer may question the rationale for paying taxes. After all, why should citizens make tax payments if it means they’re simply financing state corruption?

Reasons for revolt

South Africa’s current economic, political and social context presents many determinants of taxpayer resistance: a high tax burden; loss of confidence, credibility and competence in government; low taxpayer morale; and increased frustration from government’s lack of commitment to arrest the rampant corruption and misappropriation of tax funds.

But is a tax revolt the answer?

As a last resort, revoking one’s consent to tax and embarking on a full-scale tax revolt may seem like the only available option to restore the terms of the fiscal contract. However, historical accounts of tax revolt show that this type of action can expose citizens to the harshest and most repressive measures.

Embarking on a tax revolt is an act of civil disobedience and unlawful. The penalties are harsh and the mechanisms available to the South African Revenue Service to enforce tax collection are far-reaching. They include, for example, seizure and execution of property.

There are other consequences too. When taxpayers renege on their tax obligations it can lead to severe fiscal stress. Ultimately citizens bear the burden of disruption in government services, economic stagnation and inflationary pressures.


An important step is to ensure transparent governance is fostered so that the government can be held accountable for effective spending. This can be achieved by supporting civil society groups that challenge the suitability of government policies and the reciprocal spending of tax revenue.

A great deal of attention needs to be placed on restoring trust in government institutions. The fundamental starting position must be to address corruption, restore trust and legitimacy in government and ensure value is received for tax money. Only then can government start to rebuild its credibility and with it taxpayer morale, and restore a taxpayer’s consent to tax.The Conversation

Roshelle Ramfol, Senior Lecturer, University of South Africa

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.
Enjoy this article?  Subscribe to ZA Confidential to receive our newsletters: Click here.   Twitter:  @zaconfidential

Can we Toque? Restaurant review: Cesco’s, Randburg

Screenshot 2019-11-25 at 08.35.20
For the prawn-again foodie

By John Fraser

It had been some years since I had last cheerfully staggered out of Cesco’s in Randburg, a pub/restaurant specialising in honest, homely Portuguese food.

That long gap had been my loss, as I discovered on a long-overdue recent lunch outing.

My hosts, M&M, had long wanted to try out this place, which is close to their leafy Linden chateaux, and I am never one to turn up my perfectly-sculpted nose at the prospect of free grub.

This is clearly a venue which overflows with excitement and noise during important sporting events.  How do I know?  The eight-or-more TV screens gave me a strong clue.

Our group had plates of queen prawns, a prawn and calamari combo, and a beef prego roll.  There was also a plate of (slightly chewy) pickled octopus to share.

Water, a chilled Stella and a bottle of Portuguese rosé lubricated the function, and, being the biggie piggy at the table, I polished off my feast with a not-too-sweet creme caramel.

The prawns were de-veined, butterflied and nicely grilled.  I asked for garlic butter and was brought a generous tub of the stuff, with which I flooded my catch.  Prawn paradise.

The chips were enjoyable, and certainly much better than those you get in many an expensive, pretentious palace.  They appeared to have come from a potato and not a freezer bag and were nicely cooked.   I could have had rice as well, and the others did so.

You don’t need to search the Platter guide for this tasty platter

Whenever I see those lists of winning top restaurants, the winners tend to fall into two main categories:  those I have visited and walked out of, and those on which I will never, ever, ever waste my hard-earned shekels.  There are exceptions, but not many.

What I most want when I eat out is excellent value, enjoyable food, a relaxed atmosphere and a chair which will not leave me sore in all the most tender spots (photos illustrating this can be found on the dark web).

What I love about Cesco’s is the sheer lack of pretension, with service which is efficient but not fawning, an attractive and varied menu, a fun atmosphere with people who dine out for enjoyment, not to pose and be seen.   And no numb bums to be seen.

Oh, and the Prego roll and chips cost just R50.   Far better tasting and probably better value than the burger equivalents from most fast-food outlets.    I didn’t cost the rest of the meal, as I was the recipient of M&M’s large largesse, but from what I did pick up, the bank remained unbroken.

As we munched our way through our lunch, chatting, smiling, laughing, drinking, prodding, poking, grabbing and pouring, I reflected that this is the sort of place I love to visit.   Casual, well-priced, but good food.  No complaints there.

Leaving with a grin, in such a good mood that I inadvertently tipped the car-guard, I vowed to return.

And, unlike Boris, I tend to keep my promises.

Rating:  I give it 4.5*

Key to the Ratings….

1*    Dog food is nicer

2*.  Cat food is nicer

3*.  Not bad if Woolworths is sold out of ready meals.

4*.  I like it

5*.  I love it.  Not to be missed.

Enjoy this article?  Subscribe to ZA Confidential to receive our newsletters: Click here.   Twitter:  @zaconfidential






Wine Tasting Podcast: De Wetshof Riesling 2017

DeWetshof Riesling 2017 copy
Fruity example of this noble grape variety

Is it a bird?  is it a plane?  No; its the ZA Confidential wine-tasting panel whooshing into action.

Under the masterly instruction of food and wine superstar Michael Olivier, the panel sips and glugs-back the 2017 De Wetshof Riesling, a complex but rewarding Cape white.

Tasters on our panel are consultant Duane Newman from Cova Advisory, Economist and Investment Strategist Chris Hart, and IT supremo Malcolm MacDonald from Clientele.

Like this podcast? Subscribe to ZA Confidential to receive our newsletters.

Twitter:  @zaconfidential  

Do also check out

Eskom chose right when it chose white

De Ruyter may not be smiling for long

By John Fraser

Sadly, we have to take the EFF seriously. This band of populist prats have a presence in Parliament, are skilled at rabble-rousing, and are listened to by many wretched South Africans who see them as their only hope for abetter life.

So when the red-beret fashion-thugs say it is wrong for a white man to be appointed as the CEO of the power utility Eskom, they are preaching to the willingly converted.

Until he takes up his new Eskom post, André de Ruyter will be winding down as the boss of packaging group Nampak.

His critics look at this group’s recent troubles, pinning the blame on him.

If he is that useless, why has he been appointed to one of the most important jobs in the country?

Of course, he isn’t useless at all.

As anyone who understands the packaging industry, or who takes the trouble to find this out, it is highly cyclical.

When the economy is buzzing, people buy more. More goods moving around the economy means more demand for packaging of those goods.

Take a look at the current lame, lacklustre SA economy, with almost stagnant GDP, and you may understand why packaging companies have not been flourishing.

One sad academic and so-called economist has written a diatribe against the Eskom appointment, suggesting a level of racial indifference was operating in the selection of de Ruyter, who he described as a ‘Boer’, and not in a nice way!

As I have tweeted about this gap-toothed economist chap: he is well balanced – with a chip on both shoulders.

Quite frankly, the record of some of Eskom’s recent black bosses has not always been exemplary.

One chap is currently being investigated by the accounting profession, with the danger that he may be barred from practising as an accountant.

A cruel and inhumane punishment, I am sure you will agree? But a sign that something has been rotten in the Megawatt Park kingdom.

Surely the point is that sickly Eskom is the biggest threat to the South African economy (unless one takes the EFF seriously) and it needs an honest, capable, dedicated boss.

By all means, celebrate and applaud every black South African who rises to the top of the ladder. But why attack every white who does so? Unless there is a nasty blacks-hate-whites racist agenda festering under the surface.

I don’t know André that well, and he may not know me from Adam (or Eve?) but I did watch the excellent work he did while chairing the Manufacturing Circle, a strangely-named lobby-group for those who run factories.

He gave some superb media briefings and speeches, demonstrated a comprehensive grasp of his subject, clear thought, superlative communications skills, and a clear commitment to the cause.

He launched a new 1m plus employment-generation strategy and had some forward-looking ideas for reviving the industrial wasteland of the Vaal triangle.

Unlike the red beret brigade, I was not shocked by the news of his Eskom appointment, but instead, on reflection, thought that he was an inspired choice.

OK. He is not black. He may come from a Boer heritage.  But who really gives a shit?

Except, maybe, those whose agenda does not align with the economic salvation of this country.

Self-enrichment, tender tampering,  and cadre deployment is so much more rewarding.

Just as Julius Caesar faced the thrusting of knives when he popped into the Forum for a quick ciggie or that low-life on the Orient Express was used as a pin-cushion by a line-up of unlikely assassins, de Ruyter will have to watch his front, back and sides.

But he has the backing of the Cabinet, of sensible and rational business organisations. And, for what little it may be worth, of moi.

So what if the EFF is sulking?

Sometimes you can judge someone’s calibre by their twisted race-related loathing of their enemies.

EFF off Malema, and let’s give André a chance.

Enjoy this article?  Subscribe to ZA Confidential to receive our newsletters: Click here.   Twitter:  @zaconfidential

If you want my loyalty, Checkers, stop pissing me off

Swipe your way to frustration

By John Fraser

Many moons ago, I was working for one of SA’s most successful businessman, Neil Froneman, who then headed a modest resources company. He now heads a major resources company and has progressed through hard work, determination, vision.

We were at one of those management strategy sessions, during a period when I was still in favour, and we were being asked to name the qualities you should seek in an employee.

I suggested: loyalty.

Froneman responded, with a flash of those steely, determined, mining magnate eyes: “If you want loyalty, hire a dog.”

It wasn’t too much longer before I discovered my inner canine, and resigned.

So much for loyalty!

One of the closest supermarkets to my Pretoria chateaux is a branch of Checkers, and it has been pushing loyalty though its new, gaudy, loyalty card.

Why not give it a go, I thought, oozing naivety and optimism?

Having failed to get things moving several times online, I went to the store, and they got me carded-up quite efficiently.

I now had my card.   Now I could save, save, save?

Well, not quite.

Checkers does exclusively offer its cardholders some quite attractive prices.

And the catch?


In ten or so treasure hunts, plastic card clutched in my sweaty hand, and plastic bags yearning for re-use, I have rarely found the pot of gold, with this loyal loon instead being reduced to a quivering, gibbering wreck.

For they have re-discovered a golden rule of retail.

You ain’t going to make less profit on an item if you don’t have it on the shelves, and your customers cannot find or buy it.

OK.   Sometimes you can get lucky, and I did occasionally hit the jackpot. I did find some well-priced Pringles and was rewarded for buying three cylinders of (air plus) Pringles with a reasonable saving.

I had to buy three, coz, you see, bargains are not unconditional.  I wasn’t thrilled by my plenitude of Pringles, but the dogs certainly were.

HOWEVER, when I went in search of the fruit juice I wanted, the instant coffee which is unusually drinkable, the meaty nibbles which my dogs desire……..

Time after time, the shelves were bare.   I would have had more chance tracking down the latest bomb-laden Isis leader.  Or an EFF politician who likes white people.

Checkers’ former boss Whitey Basson

Now, I don’t know a lot about retail, although I did follow Checkers as a journalist when it was run by a true retail genius, Whitey Basson.

He, strangely, never seemed that keen on loyalty cards.

But he was intelligent enough to hold investment analysts’ and media briefings in Jo’burg. This is a basic courtesy the ill-advised current bunch seems unable, unwilling or ungracious enough to continue.

Maybe loyalty is an overrated virtue, although I love my dogs for it, and they bite me quite rarely in return.

But if you are going to try to foster loyalty through a loyalty card, at least honour the partnership by having the bargains you offer….on the shelves.

If this con con-tinues. you might have many more customers like me for whom the word ‘Checkers’ conjures up not a loving, lustful, loyalty-infused smile.

But instead, it will produce a primitive, snarling, canine-like growl.

A bark.    Because I couldn’t find the bite I wanted.

Enjoy this article?  Subscribe to ZA Confidential to receive our newsletters: Click here.   Twitter:  @zaconfidential









Gumtree’s Jeff Osborne’s holiday driving safety tips

Jeff Osborne: Drive safely!

Gumtree Autos’ Jeff Osborne says it is possible to make yourself safer on the roads by driving carefully, and by doing five basic safety checks on your vehicle before you head off.

Osborne says that ideally you should get your vehicle fully serviced in advance of the holiday trip but, if that isn’t possible, he says it’s absolutely essential to give your vehicle a once-over in these key areas:


A high-speed blowout can be fatal. A check at a tyre dealership is free and quick, so there’s no excuse for not making sure that you don’t have dangerously worn tyres. Also, check the spare to make sure it is in working order (and that the wheel-changing equipment is all there and functional). Before and during the trip, check that your tyre pressures are correct – if one is markedly deflated, then get it immediately assessed.


Brake failure is a common cause of serious accidents. If you concentrate on them, you can tell if your brakes are in trouble. Is there more give in the brake pedal than before? Or a lack of sharpness in the response to braking? Or is there any unhealthy sound coming from the brakes? Any doubts at all should send you straight to a repair outlet for a brake inspection.


Repair any chips or cracks in the windscreen. It needs to be structurally sound to ensure that it doesn’t shatter when hard detritus hits it at high speed.


Poor visibility is very dangerous. Your wipers must work properly and so must your windscreen demisters. Also, make sure there’s water in the system for cleaning the windscreens. And check that both your side mirrors are in working order – they’re mission-critical for safe lane-changing.


Functional lights are important for you both to see and to be seen. Check all of your lights at night – that’s the only time you can discover if some of them are dim. Remember to check the brake lights. In most vehicles, it’s inexpensive and quick to replace faulty bulbs.

Enjoy this article?  Subscribe to ZA Confidential to receive our newsletters: Click here.   Twitter:  @zaconfidential

Is there an exodus from SA?

house sale

By Chris Gilmour

A number of factors have recently persuaded me that there is a largely-unreported migration of people out of South Africa.

Official statistics are not necessarily showing this, but StatsSA relies on people leaving the country to inform them of their permanent departure, which is something that they rarely do.

It should be stated up-front that the people who are leaving comprise a wide spectrum of demographics – unlike in the 1960s, 70s and 80s when it was almost entirely white people taking off, for fear of a race war breaking out in SA.

Today, it is often highly-skilled black professionals who are leaving – for a perceived better future for themselves and their children.

I use the word exodus advisedly, as I am convinced it is genuinely a massive outflow of people from this country.

Factors that I have discerned that point to this include the collapse in residential house prices in Johannesburg and the inability of the state vet at Onderstepoort to cope with the volume of rabies tests sought by emigrants wanting to take their animals with them overseas,.

Then there is the ease of gaining access to good private schools in SA when previously there were waiting lists, and golf and country clubs actively seeking new members when previously there were, again, long waiting lists.

Talking to estate agents in the past three years, the response has been the same.

Roughly 70% of house sellers in Jo’burg are either “semigrating” to Cape Town or are leaving the country altogether.

Thus there is little – if any – recycling of demand back into the Jo’burg residential property market, which explains much of the slump in Jo’burg house prices.

To be allowed to take one’s pets overseas to most countries, it is necessary to provide evidence that the animal is rabies-free.

To achieve this, a so-called “titre test” is performed on the animal’s blood. This is normally done at the state vet at Onderstepoort and a certificate is provided.

However, such is the demand by people leaving the country that the state vet is now overwhelmed and simply can’t cope.

Vet practices are now sending titre samples to Germany for testing –  which is much quicker than sending them to Onderstepoort.

The third factor – education – is admittedly more tenuous.

Good private schools apparently no longer have waiting lists for admission, but this could be due to the exceptionally poor state of the local economy, and perhaps not so much to emigration.

However, in company narratives, the school companies which are listed have noted emigration as a contributing factor to decreased demand.

The same goes for golf and country club membership.

One has to remember, though, that golf club memberships are declining globally, so the decline in SA memberships may not necessarily be a reliable indicator of heightened emigration.

Putting all of these factors together, one paints a pretty bleak picture of the SA economy.

South Africa can ill-afford an exodus of skills.

When the economy turns, the lack of skilled and educated people will weigh heavily on both the economy and society.

Chris Gilmour is a writer, broadcaster, and investment analyst

Enjoy this article?  Subscribe to ZA Confidential to receive our newsletters: Click here.   Twitter:  @zaconfidential

Warning of ANC Pension Plunder Plan

Shussler pix
Mike Schussler: Dire Warning

By John Fraser

A rapid rise in SA government spending will trigger a chain of events, culminating in the erosion of the value of your pension, leading economist Mike Schussler has warned.

He was (Tuesday) addressing a media briefing at the SA Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR), a leading independent think-tank, on an ANC plan to force financial institutions to channel a greater share of their assets into certain government instruments.

“The problem is that the government cannot stop spending,” he argued.

“(Rating agency) Moody’s must be pretty pissed-off.  They have been lied to so many times. Moody’s will downgrade us in March or November next year. All the other rating agencies will follow (with further downgrades in their own rating profiles)”.

This was the second time the SAIRR had hosted a media briefing by Schussler on the same topic, and he fretted that within months the likelihood of pension pillage has grown.

“The expenditure rate of government has been increasing, partly due to the bail-outs of SOEs,” he noted.

“Annual government interest payments are at 4.8% of GDP, from 2.2% in 2009/10.”

He suggested that the seemingly inevitable downgrade of South Africa to junk status by Moody’s will lead to a leap in interest rates, which will, in turn, push the government into a swoop on pensions and other savings.

“I guess this will be within a year from the rating downgrade. If we get a final downgrade in March, it will take a year,” he predicted.

“They are going to be looking for funds,” he warned, noting that “SA has one of the largest pension pots in the world.

“Will we run to the IMF?  No, we will run to our pension funds.

“SA has the 10th largest pension pot in the world in dollar terms. This is huge.

“The value is around 90%-100% of GDP.  If you add insurance and medical scheme assets, you get to 160%-170% of GDP.”

Schussler, who is CEO of, noted that SA’s debt-to-GDP “trajectory has changed tremendously.”

This has increased the likelihood of further pension pillage, through the mechanism of prescribed assets.

“You (the State) need to get hold of assets that (will then) have to invest in government debt, to help lower interest payments,” he predicted.

“You are being screwed by highly-paid civil servants,” he noted, referring to the inflated public sector pay rates.

“This means there is less money for dams, schools. The next problem is medicine and textbooks at school.

“They are not going to do enough about the public wage bill. It is very likely that prescribed assets are the easiest way out. It is already ANC policy, and (provided for in) the law.”

He suggested that returns on pension funds and other savings will fall if a greater share of the pot is defined as prescribed assets.

This will have a downward knock-on effect on the value of pensions while also making medical aid more expensive and less affordable.

“The JSE will take a hit,” Schussler warned.  “This will destroy the big financial firms.

“Asset managers are scared. This is why they aren’t talking publicly about this.

“I want the assets in my pension fund to grow, but there will be a social problem if this doesn’t happen.

“Things will get worse if we don’t get the returns we need.

“Our danger is in not addressing the fundamental overspending and growth issues that SA faces,” he concluded.

Enjoy this article? Subscribe to ZA Confidential to receive our newsletters: Click here.   Twitter:  @zaconfidential


South Africa struggles to manage wildlife ranching: why it’s a problem

Game farms in South Africa often supply the canned hunting sector.

Tariro Kamuti, University of Cape Town

Over the past few decades, South Africa has seen a dramatic conversion from livestock or crop farming to wildlife ranching – known locally as game farming. The result has been a rapid rise in areas enclosed by game fences and a high demand for wildlife. Animals are increasingly being traded privately and at wildlife auctions.

But regulation hasn’t kept up with this growth. This is despite the fact that key environmental and agricultural laws have been passed since 1994 that affect the wildlife sector in a number of ways. This includes property rights, the redistribution of land and the conservation of biodiversity. The policy changes were driven mainly by the need to integrate South Africa into the international community and to bring about economic and social transformation in a democratic state.

In the 1990s the state facilitated the early development of game farming by passing favourable legislation. The Game Theft Act of 1991 was hailed as a “game-changer” in the wildlife industry as the law gave farmers the right to own game as long as they had appropriate fencing.

Eight years later the Animal Improvement Act tightened up breeding rules in the livestock sector. But certain species of wildlife were exempted under this act. The result is that the law hasn’t kept up with developments in the private wildlife sector. These include new challenges that have emerged like breeding for colour variants, exotic species and canned hunting.

The result has been huge gaps in the way that game farms are regulated by the state at national and provincial levels. In a paper published in 2014, I looked at how the fractured state in the governance of private game farming in KwaZulu-Natal province, South Africa was affecting the sector. My findings remain relevant.

In the intervening years, the power of the private wildlife sector has been entrenched. Game farmers in KwaZulu-Natal often complain about strict local wildlife regulations. But, as my research showed, they benefit from the fact that there are holes in the law, plus the fact that there’s a strong, autonomous conservation body at the provincial level that has historically acted in their favour.

I concluded that schisms between the various government departments, locally and nationally, combined with a lack of clear direction on the private game farming sector have meant that their operations haven’t been directed towards being more socially or environmentally sustainable.

What’s wrong

Game farming connects the wildlife and agricultural sectors. Both are inherently connected to the land.

Land needs to be equitably distributed and sustainably utilised to meet the varied needs of a diverse South African population. The country has a long way to go on both scores.

Land distribution remains persistently skewed. At least 80% of the country’s land is privately owned, most of it in the hands of white farmers. On top of this, there are still mass evictions of former farmworkers, former labour tenants and even land restitution claimants. These evictions have mostly happened during the past two decades. It has also been the period during which wildlife farming has grown.

Game farming also has environmental consequences. Take the issue of game breeding. The high demand for the “new forms” of species puts pressure on game farmers to increase the introduction of exotic species. The genetic manipulation of species, for example, to create unusual colour variants, as well as intensive captive breeding methods,  are being used to produce “new” variants.

Variant species are seen as problematic because they have the potential of affecting species in the wild if they’re released to intermingle.

In addition, trophy hunting remains a controversial issue on its contribution to conservation.

What’s missing

At the national level, there is a schism between government departments.

The first area of tension is over which department should take the lead. Should it be the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries or the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development?

The issues being played out include:

  • whether game farmers should be regulated as just another agricultural activity.
  • whether biodiversity conservation concerns should take precedence.
  • whether wildlife should be treated in the same way as livestock.

The government recently gazetted a list of 33 wildlife species that will now be treated as livestock. This opens the door to these species being treated as farming stock.

The change surprised environmentalists. It suggests that the government is gradually yielding to the demands of game farmers.

My research also found that game farmers in KwaZulu-Natal are protected by the semi-autonomous conservation authority, Ezemvelo KwaZulu Natal Wildlife, to their advantage. The organisation has a strong tradition of cooperation with private landowners in the province which has ensured that their interests are protected. However, the conservation authority still has difficulty in keeping track of what happens on game farms and enforcing legislation.


There is a need for a coherent policy which clarifies the position and role of game farming in South Africa. This needs to take on board the country’s political and socio-economic context, including the land question.

Government and all other institutions need to have the capacity to safeguard natural resources as well as to ensure marginalised communities are looked after. One possible route could be to delegate powers to the local level, though this would not necessarily be regarded as a positive move by game farmers.

This article is based on a longer article first published in the Journal of Contemporary African Studies. The study and the publication of the special issue were funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (grant number W01.65.306.00) and the South Africa Netherlands Research Programme on Alternatives in Development.The Conversation

Tariro Kamuti, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Cape Town

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Enjoy this article? Subscribe to ZA Confidential to receive our newsletters: Click here.   Twitter:  @zaconfidential


Podcast Wine tasting: Diemersfontein Prodigy Pinotage 2018

Luvverly pinotage

Food and wine superstar Michael Olivier introduces another delicious Cape Red for this wine-tasting, the Diemersfontein 2018 Prodigy Pinotage.

Guest tasters are economist Mike Schussler, analyst and writer Chris Gilmour and Gumtree Auto’s Jeff Osborne.

Michael Olivier also gives some fascinating insights into Pinotage history.

Click below for the podcast and salivate with delight….

Like this podcast? Subscribe to ZA Confidential to receive our newsletters.

Twitter:  @zaconfidential  

Do also check out