Why is the “Tutu tax” debate important for South Africans at this time?

Why is the “Tutu tax” debate important now?

The importance and uniqueness of this debate is not that this is a new discussion (it is not), but that there is a special moment/time (a Kairos) in which this debate is currently occurring. This is therefore “early warning prophecy” at work to avoid a tsunami on the way forward.

  • It is about noticing how “economic liberation” is taking centre stage in our national debate, and
    how some are calling for an Economic CODESA, and we ignore it at our
    peril. If a very reasonable proposal by Archbishop Tutu is rubbished by
    some people in the way it has been, then those doing so should not complain
    if nationalisation and other similar proposals move higher up as a
    priority for the poorest South Africans…
  • Secondly, in three years
    time we will celebrate 20 years after the 1994 election, and 20 years
    after liberation is normally a time of intense reflection and perhaps
    the start of a “new transition” which would need to be managed properly
    lest we go the Zimbabwe route. The questions will therefore intensify,
    not lessen.
  •  Thirdly, we do not know how long Archbishop
    Tutu and Madiba will still be with us and we need to start thinking
    about what will happen when their voices are no longer with us. We must
    therefore thank God that he has sent Tutu to re-start this debate while
    he is still with us.
  • The various warnings
    from COSATU and the Moeletsi Mbeki warning of our 2020 “Tunisia moment”
    is also hanging over us and in 2014 we will only be 6 years away from
    that moment  if we don’t start reversing the situation now.
  • The recent London riots – and why it occurred – should also be taken as a warning for us….
  • Couple this with the good-intentioned
    but often inefficient and sometimes corrupt government programmes to
    alleviate poverty, as well as
  • a growing restlessness
    from amongst the poor themselves and some organising that are beginning
    to happen and we will notice that  a cocktail of things are beginning
    to coalesce
    . We are talking here about a national security situation
    and no amount of militarisation of the police force will be able to stop
    this movement.
  • This is therefore about
    discerning the signs of our times and doing something big to
    avoid something really negative, hence the “Tutu tax” proposal….We
    need to arrest this situation, otherwise the issue will become not if
    something like or bigger than the London Riots will happen here, but when….
  • We therefore need to urgently (the urgency of now) come up with a realistic and implementable
    proposal about this as soon as possible

Written by Rev Edwin Arrison  29 August 2011


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