Since the zero-rated basket was born in 1991, consumer buying patterns have changed and some of the foods in the basket have lost their appeal, such as the only animal protein in the basket at present: tinned pilchards. The most widely consumed protein in SA today is chicken, which happens to be the cheapest meat. It is cheaper than tinned pilchards and it is what South Africans already prefer to feed their families. It would make simple economic sense that chicken be added to the zero-rated food basket — at the very least fresh whole and fresh half chickens, as well as cheaper parts such as livers and giblets. In fact, to continue excluding chicken from the zero-rated basket when 20% of the population is living under the poverty line and chicken is their preferred and in some cases only source of protein, is morally ambivalent and economically ill-judged. "Let them eat pilchards" has a discomfiting ring to it, does it not? When it comes to taxation of its citizens, SA is a unique c...

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