Just 4% of the country’s nearly 14-million registered taxpayers contributed more than half of the R546.8bn in revenue the state collected from individuals last year. Of course, half of those 14-million people earn below the threshold to pay income tax, so the burden of keeping the wheels of the state bureaucracy turning depends, in reality, on a handful of globally mobile individuals.

As it was, just 574,081 people paid nearly R280bn in personal income taxes in 2019. Drill deeper and you’ll see that more than half of that R280bn — R150bn — came from 125,000 people, or 0.2% of the population, who earn more than R1.5m a year.

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