Bachelor tax imposed on men in Nquthu

NQUTHU - As South Africans battle with fuel hikes, escalating food prices and other taxes, bachelors from Nquthu in northern KwaZulu-Natal face an additional burden.

They're expected to pay an annual tax, imposed by the local iNkosi.

Thamsanqa Zwane is a 31-year-old single man from Vulamehlo village in Nquthu.

He is unemployed and relies on his mother to pay his annual bachelor tax bill.

All those over eighteen in the area are served with letters of home ownership and have to pay this tax.

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Thamsanqa Zwane, a local resident, said, "yes, that happens. In my case, as a single person who doesn't have a wife or girlfriend that lives with me here, I have that letter. We pay R50."

This has caused outrage in the area.

Some parents say paying their unemployed sons' annual bachelor tax bill is a financial burden.

Busisiwe Mthembu has three sons and explained, "They pay this tax even though they are not married. I paid for the first one, and the second one became eighteen, I had to get him the ownership letter."

"The third and only remaining one became eighteen…he is single and job hunting in Johannesburg."

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Others have labeled this as oppression and exploitation of poor rural people.

The local iNkosi disputes the existence of the so-called annual bachelor tax.
Thathezakhe Ngobese says the tax is used to foot his nation's bill.

He labeled those who complain as disgruntled newcomers to the area who are dividing the community.

Ngobese said, "people are complaining about R50 annually. This money doesn't feed Ngobese's family."

"It takes care of the needs of the traditional court and council. There are people working here, including cleaners."

"They get paid from this tax, not from Government, just R50 per year. A person who pays R50 complains, what about those who pay more?"

Provincial Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs officials met with iNkosi Ngobese and his council on Tuesday to discuss the matter.

It's expected to announce the outcome of the meeting soon.