Man behind paternity leave leads call for zero tax rate on municipal water

23 April 2018 - 11:51 By Ernest Mabuza
Image: 123RF/maridav

Hendri Terblanche‚ who successfully petitioned Parliament to allow men to get more days off to take care of their newborns‚ is now asking Parliament to charge zero tax on water provided by municipalities to households.

I can drink water‚ but I can’t drink the 15% VAT.

Terblanche wrote to National Council of Provinces chairperson Thandi Modise on Friday to ask that zero-rating section 11 of the Value Added Tax Act be amended to include water to be charged with a tax at the rate of zero percent.

“The Value-Added Tax Act 89 of 1991 infringes on our right to sufficient food and water. To think that for every R1 that you spend on the purchase of water only R0.87 is for the actual water and the remaining R0.13 for the 15% value-added tax. I can drink water‚ but I can’t drink the 15% VAT‚” Terblanche said in his petition.

He said the only negative aspect of changing the tax rate on water was the 13c loss for the government per R1 of water. “Municipalities will still be able to claim input Value-Added Tax‚” Terblanche said.

He said the General Household Survey of 2016 stated that 14,029,000 out of 16,264,000 households had access to piped municipal water supplies.

Terblanche was the author of the Private Members Bill‚ which allowed both parents to be granted paid leave when their children are born‚ or arrive after adoption. The bill was presented by African Christian Democratic Party MP Cheryllyn Dudley. In November last year‚ the National Assembly passed the Labour Laws Amendment Bill. It needs to be passed by the National Council of Provinces and then signed by the president to become law.

Terblanche said when his twins were born prematurely in November 2013‚ there was no provision for paternity leave in the law. “I found myself in the situation where I had to take care of my children and my wife‚” Terblanche said‚ adding that his sons spent more than 80 days in an intensive care unit.

In terms of the bill‚ an employee who is a parent and is not entitled to maternity leave‚ is entitled to 10 consecutive days of parental leave when their child is born or when an adoption order is granted.