How much tax Vodacom CEO Shameel Joosub pays

Vodacom CEO Shameel Joosub paid R29 million tax in the last financial year, following the R30 million tax he paid the year before.

This was revealed in Vodacom’s latest financial results, which include a tax transparency report for the year ended 31 March 2023.

Vodacom’s total contribution to public finances over the last financial year was R25.4 billion, up from R22.1 billion a year before.

These figures represent the sum of total taxes borne, taxes collected on behalf of governments, and other payments made to governments.

The R25.4 billion public finance contribution included:

  • R8.8 billion in corporate taxes, irrecoverable withholding taxes, and other direct taxes.
  • R12.5 billion in employment taxes, telecommunication-specific excise duties, VAT, and airtime and mobile money levies.
  • R4.1 billion in spectrum fees, business licence fees, and universal service fees.

These large contributions to the state, which funds social programmes, education, healthcare, and policing, show the value Vodacom brings to the countries in which it operates.

Other large South African companies, like MTN, Standard Bank, Nedbank, Remgro, FNB, Absa, and Discovery, make similar contributions.

Despite these contributions, companies are often lambasted for high profits and large salary packages paid to their top executives.

The Department of Trade, Industry, and Competition has gone as far as introducing the Companies Amendment Bill to encourage transparency about executive salaries.

The Bill compels companies to report the differences between the highest and the lowest-paid employees.

“The Bill seeks to clarify responsibilities between directors and senior management on the one hand, and shareholders on the other hand,” the department said.

It added that it forms part of addressing public concerns regarding high levels of inequalities in society.

However, while the government joined the chorus of voices targeting profitable companies and highly paid executives, it fails to mention that these are their main sources of income.

Economist Dawie Roodt highlighted that a small number of people and companies pay most of South Africa’s personal income and corporate tax.

Of the 60 million people in South Africa, only 7.4 million pay personal income tax. 1.1% of taxpayers – around 164,000 people – pay 30% of the total personal income tax (PIT) in South Africa.

Corporate income tax (CIT) has an even smaller tax base. Only 0.09% of companies in South Africa – 770 large corporates – pay 62.5% of the country’s R336.1 billion CIT.

Instead of thanking this small number of people and companies for their contribution, the government paints them as dirty capitalists.

Well-known billionaire and South African-based Remgro and Switzerland-based Richemont chairman Johann Rupert best describes the situation.

“In Switzerland, I got a letter of ‘Thank You’ from the taxman. In South Africa, they harassed me for eight years.”


Top JSE indices