LTMC vs THE STATE

The state rides bumpily over the Bill of Rights when it comes to the landless and jobless.

This has meant that since October 1996, when the final constitutional text was approved, there is still no recognition that land prices and taxes are algebraically manacled; that high income taxes means unaffordable land prices and vice versa. So at an average of R550,000 for unused urban residential plots (and more for smallholdings) land prices have become too expensive for the indigent and illiterate.

This refutes sec 25.5 which insists that citizens must gain access to land, and sec 229 which demands that the cost of capital, wages and salaries in Municipalities be minimal to avoid “prejudicing the national economic policy” of more land, more jobs and more wealth.

LTMC : THE ELIMINATION OF SQUATTER CAMPS

The Honourable Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng’s Nkandla judgement in 2016 was a lesson in the raw power of the South African Constitution. Constitutionalists support the constitution, generally. Economic Constitutionalists champion economic issues which diminish the everyday lives of citizens.

LTMC TAXES

The international rule for affordable land entails tax-sanctuaries,as opposed to tax-evasion havens like Bermuda and the Virgin Islands. Tax-sanctuaries are largely dependent on unearned land rents for their revenues. These are a rates and taxes surcharge on land not improvements, which bubbles up from the earth without any effort on the part of the owner. This single land tax is the opposite to the hard- earned taxes on wages, salaries and man-made wealth.

The tax-sanctuary slogan is “the nationalisation of unearned land rents(not land) and the simultaneous privatisation of hard earned work and man-made wealth. The collection of land rents yields more than income taxes and vat because unused land is not currently taxed”.

NB On the surface, sec 229 only restrains municipal fiscal powers and functions, not those of national government. But it is unthinkable for Treasury to undermine national economic goals by itself adopting irrational and unreasonable tax collections on work and wealth.

Clarity on this was mandated in the XXX1V constitutional principles in the interim constitution. There it was specified that the National Government and provincial governments shall have fiscal powers and functions which will be defined in the Constitution.” But this was missing from the final text.

There are no butterflies for children to catch in rusty corrugated iron suburbs,just bullets. And people are incarcerated in these camps by unaffordable land prices. The old Homeland alternatives are well watered and arable but life is feudal there and not desired.

Lives in squatter camps are threatened; a street explosion which kills sixty people will be blamed on terrorists. Yet daily, at least that number will perish in the informal settlements from preventable deaths like HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, interpersonal violence, low birth weight and protein-energy malnutrition. This was reported by the SA Medical Council in 2000. It assumes that only 10% of the 210 000 annual preventable deaths occurred in the townships and this has remained at that level of carnage since 2000.

The obligation to fund the state rests with every citizen. People cannot pay taxes if they have no job or land. But they can pay if they have land; this heavy treasure chest to which everyone has a right. It means making an annual rates and taxes payment equal to the land rent which anyone else would be willing to pay to prevent others from using it. Land rents depend on nature, as well as state infrastructure, services and governance as well as population growth.

Taxes on man and man-made wealth is theft. It is trite that we are advised to render unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar when it is not clear what belongs us and what to Caesar. But there is no moral claim to anything which one does not make oneself whether a wage,salary or something else. And land is not hand-made nor is it reproducible.