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The Bishops of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa are concerned that citizens are effectively paying for the impact of corruption through a hike in Value-Added Tax (VAT).

The bishops expressed their “deep concern” at the hike by one percentage point to 15% announced in Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba’s “tough but hopeful” budget speech.

“It is distressing to us that the ordinary citizens of South Africa are being called upon through increased VAT to fill the gaps in government finances which are partly a result of massive maladministration and corruption‚ especially in state-owned enterprises‚” Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town said in a statement issued on Friday.

“We urge the South African government‚ as we have urged all governments in our region‚ to develop budgets which help the poor‚ to expose corruption and ensure that those who perpetrate it‚ whether in the private or public sector‚ are brought to justice.”

Rooting out corruption is a priority under newly elected President Cyril Ramaphosa. Authorities have the Gupta family firmly in their sights as they probe allegations of state capture that siphoned vast sums of money from government coffers.

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