Picture: SOWETAN
Picture: SOWETAN

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.

Terblanche wrote to National Council of Provinces chairperson Thandi Modise on Friday to ask that zero-rating section 11 of the Value Added Tax (VAT) Act be amended to include water.

"The VAT 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 87c is for the actual water and the remaining 13c for the 15% value-added tax. I can drink water‚ but I can’t drink the 15% VAT‚" Terblanche said in his petition.

For every R1 spent on water, only 87c is for the actual water, and the other 13c is the 15% VAT on that 87c.

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 VAT‚" 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 were born or arrived after adoption. The bill was presented by African Christian Democratic Party MP Cheryllyn Dudley. In November‚ 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.