SA Chiefs have been warned against imposing levies and taxes on their subjects.
That, follows the revelation that a Chief to the community of Dikgokgopheng Village in Limpopo collect fees from subjects who want to bury their dead in the cemetery.
The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs condemned the cemetery levies saying such actions aren’t consistent with the laws of the country.
Speaking, Cooperative Governance Minister Des van Rooyen informed SA Chiefs that levies and taxes can only be imposed by government in accordance with the authorization of the constitution.
He referred to the Constitution and indicated that there are no provision therein that allow any other structure aside the government to impose levies or taxes.
Van Rooyen highlighted that section 21(6) of the Constitution specified that ‘until the legislation envisaged in section 229(1)(b) of the new Constitution is enacted, a municipality remains competent to impose any tax, levy or duty which it was authorized to impose when the Constitution took effect’.
He further articulated that section 229 deals with municipal fiscal powers and functions which in subsection (1)(b), stipulated that a municipality may impose taxes, levies and duties appropriate to local government if so authorized in terms of national legislation.
The section added that no municipality may impose income tax, value-added tax, general sales tax or customs duty.
With the foregoing, Van Rooyen lamented that it’s uncool to collect cemetery levies when people are grieving the lost of their loved ones.
Thus, he called on the traditional rulers of Dikgokgopheng to stop plaguing poor communities with unjust rules and regulations.
“As government we recognize that without laws, regulations or policies, there could be chaos and it would be the survival of the strong and rich, at the expense of the poor and the weak. But rules cannot be enacted to satisfy the few and hurt the masses, whilst being inconsistent with the Constitution,” stated the Minister.