Flash Briefing: ANC in tax scandal; At least 20m South Africans have had Covid-19 – study; rhino poaching

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  • The ANC is possibly guilty of criminal offences in failing to pay over millions in Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE) to the South African Revenue Service (SARS), while deducting this money from its employees’ wages. That’s according to the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA). The DA says it welcomes the seizing of IEC funds by SARS from the ruling ANC as partial payment of its debt. In terms of the Income Tax Act, it is a criminal offence punishable by prison time for anyone to wilfully and without justification withhold funds owed to SARS, it says. The ANC, just like any other employer in South Africa, is directly liable for any tax debts on its employees’ names and any suggestion of corruption on the part of the governing party must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
  • The South African Covid-19 Modelling Consortium says the country will likely experience a weaker “third wave” of coronavirus infections because studies show 30% to 40% of the population have already contracted the disease, reports Bloomberg. Reuters says that South Africa has allocated an extra R4bn ($276m) to buy Covid-19 vaccines and extend a special distress grant to thousands of people hit by the pandemic, in a Special Appropriation Bill tabled by the finance minister on Tuesday.
  • ActionSA, a new opposition party, has lifted the lid on yet another corruption scandal involving Edwin Sodi – linked to ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule in the Free State asbestos scandal. The party says it has been provided with access to tender documents relating to alleged irregularities in a R300m tender awarded by the City of Tshwane for work at the Rooiwal Wastewater Treatment Plant. ActionSA says Mr Sodi is notorious for his appearance at the State Capture Commission of Inquiry due to his alleged involvement in the Free State’s asbestos scandal and has been implicated in a R44m tender scandal in the City of Joburg, involving assessments for hostels, ActionSA’s leader Herman Mashaba has accused President Cyril Ramaphosa of not showing the courage of conviction needed to rip corruption out of the ANC’s ranks. No one has faced the full consequences of their corrupt actions within the ANC.
  • The African National Congress (ANC) will send suspension letters to party members who refuse to step aside, says Eyewitness News. The decision follows an ANC national working committee meeting on Monday in which lists were collated from different provinces and prepared for this coming weekend’s national executive meeting. ANC members affected by the resolution were given 30 days to voluntarily step aside or be suspended.
  • Rhino poaching is on the rise again in South Africa since the government loosened coronavirus restrictions, following a year-long lull due to the pandemic, wildlife parks say. The strict limits on travel, including international travel, imposed in March last year had the happy side effect of keeping poachers at bay. In 2020, 394 rhinos were poached, 30% fewer than the year before and the lowest yearly tally since 2011, reports Bloomberg. Relentless poaching and a drought in the North-East region has hit the rhino population hard. In the Kruger National Park, the number of rhinos has plummeted almost more than two thirds in the last decade to around 3,800 in 2019 from 11,800 rhinos in 2008, a South African National Parks report showed.

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