The Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference has called on the rich to accept higher taxes than the poor in order to lessen the disparity between them. In a 48-page letter issued at a squatter settlement called Orange Farm, near Johannesburg, the bishops criticised the Government, business and labour for doing too little to create jobs and encourage growth.
    The Tablet reports that the letter called for a "solidarity tax", and recommended that some executives should have their pay scales frozen or cut "until the wage gap had been substantially narrowed".
    The bishops went on to say that the rich had a moral duty to help redress imbalances in society "by willingly accepting higher levels of taxation, especially when such increases do not threaten or deny them a comfortable standard of living".
    They said that the gap in South Africa between the earnings of the rich and the poor was among the highest in the world; they pointed out that the country's business executives earned on average 100 times as much as workers.

12:21pm 24/5/99 / The Tablet


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