CAPE TOWN, South Africa’s tax ombudsman, Judge Bernard Ngoepe, has expressed concern at the country’s political stability.

“We (South Africans) must say to ourselves that our economy is not okay,” Ngoepe said at a Leader’s Angle event hosted by the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB) at Bellville, near here, Sunday.

Voicing concern, he stated” “My ultimate question is, ‘Do we really live in a politically stable country that allows for a healthy economy?'”

He said the huge deficit, very high unemployment number, and people dependent on social grants to survive were examples which showed that South Africa’s economy was not well.

“We are becoming a corrupted society. People are employed based on their political connections,” he added, noting that one of the fundamental causes for such developments was that people were competing for scarce resources.

“Hospitals are over-stressed. People in leadership positions should address these fundamental problems,” Ngoepe said.

“Just because there is a mere absence of civil war in the country does not imply that we are politically stable as a country. When Parliament opened, over 400 soldiers of the defence force were deployed for law and order. Can you really argue that it is a politically stable country? Something is not right.”

Commenting on the burden of tax collection, he said he was concerned that the increased tax for the those in the top bracket would influence the culture of paying tax.

“One of the basis for tax collection is that we are forced to pay it, but I think people should also feel morally obliged to pay tax. If we don’t spend taxes prudently then people will begin to justify their reluctance to pay tax.”