OUTA has started on a journey of expanding its mandate into other areas where the need to challenge policy, conduct and laws that lead to, or are responsible for tax abuse.
During our work on the e-Toll challenge over the past few years, we have often been asked by the public and other organisations to consider taking action on matters of a similar nature. As one can imagine, our country has no shortage of issues that require challenging in this regard. However, in going down this new road, we need to ensure that we handle our transition carefully and to treat this as journey, rather than an instantaneous event. We also do not intend to address the myriad of issues that require attention. Ours will be a selective process, guided by various criteria to ensure the issues we challenge are real, necessary and will meet our mandate, vision and capabilities.
OUTA is by no means abandoning the e-toll challenge.
Our efforts and campaign to litigate and empower society to challenge this irrational decision, has been extremely successful. Today, some two years after the launch of e-tolls, only 9% of Gauteng Freeway users are paying toward the ill-conceived scheme. The public can rest assured that OUTA will remain focused and committed on this matter to the end, whilst also providing the protection offered to our contributing supporters through the e-Toll Defense Umbrella.
In mid February, we will host a media conference at which time we will provided greater detail and clarity of the rationale, plans, methodologies, systems and programs we intend to deploy. The outcomes we seek for each cause we take on, will be clearly explained what the issues are (as we see them), why we are involved therein and how we intend to deal with the matter(s). Our tools and platforms will ensure that we adopt a very participative and inclusive approach with OUTA’s supporters and the public, in the work we conduct.
Our brand acronym of OUTA remains in place, which will shortly stand for “Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse”.
Organised civil society has played an important role in South Africa’s past, and we believe our country’s future requires the ongoing development of effective civil intervention, which ultimately seeks to protect the public’s rights. The role played by organised civil society is not to be seen in conflict with the role and work of the Public Protector’s office. Instead, it is one that acts in harmony and supportive of this office.
South Africa has a great constitution and legal system that should to work toward holding our political authorities accountable to the people in areas of policy, law and conduct. We have noticed a growing public restlessness on many unjust issues, which we believe should be channeled into constructive, active and participative citizenry.
Against this backdrop, we believe that Government and supporters of the public service who are serious about reducing corruption and maladministration, will or should embrace organisations such as OUTA, as we are on the same side of Team South Africa. Those who feel otherwise and who blatantly self enrich or are responsible for the waste of our nations taxes, may just feel the heat of the new OUTA in time to come.