How do states extract resources from citizens? How does their performance shape the state? These questions are explored in the context of revenue mobilisation in democratic South Africa. Since the mid-1990s, South Africa has achieved consistent, and in some cases, dramatic improvements in revenue collection. The authors argue that the improvements are mainly the result of improved administrative capacity in the South African Revenue Services (SARS). The article finds no evidence linking improved collection to enhanced citizen confidence in government and argues that improved revenue collection has little to do with more positive citizen attitudes towards the use of state funds for the betterment of all. However, while a transformation in taxpayers' attitudes is a dimension lagging, the authors suggest that South Africa contains a tax paying culture, contrary to many other developing nations. The absence of tax revolts and protests indicates that in South Africa tax collectors benefit from a propensity to pay taxes built up over many years, which is strong enough to ensure higher payments when managerial methods improve.
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D. Hlophe and S. Friedman. ‘…AND THEIR HEARTS AND MINDS WILL FOLLOW…? IDS Bulletin (2002) 33 (3) i-xx. [DOI: 10.1111/j.1759-5436.2002.tb00029.x]