25 APRIL 2005


The South African Revenue Service (SARS) today launched its most innovative taxpayer education approach to date - a fictional cartoon character, Khanyisile Khumalo, conceptualised to be an effective and personalised communication tool in its drive for sustainable taxpayer education.

According to SARS Communications Manager Tasneem Carrim, Khanyisile Khumalo (Khanyi for short) will primarily be used in a comic book medium to explain complex tax matters, in a storytelling manner and language which everyone can understand and relate to. "Khanyi was created to be a friendly face to all South Africans on the complex issues of tax, and is a character with whom the general public will identify with," she says.

"She is a human face for tax education, and will increasingly become recognised as an important role model for young South Africans." Khanyi will promote awareness of the obligation to comply voluntarily with South African tax and customs laws, and help boost tax literacy among registered and non-registered taxpayers.

"The need for an innovative, informative approach to taxpayer education was emphasised following the 2004 Filing Season, during which SARS received an influx of 522,739 new registrations. We anticipate a steady increase in new registrations this year, making it imperative to have effective taxpayer education initiatives in place," explains Carrim. "This initiative will significantly assist SARS to fulfil its mandate to ensure maximum compliance with legislation."

She adds, "Our fresh approach to taxpayer education was based on research that highlighted the need for comprehensive tax education across all demographics and income groups, and indicated that most taxpayers seek and welcome tax education".

Khanyisile means "shedder of light", which is exactly what she has been created to be - a communicator and beacon of all important tax information, from small business tax to individual tax.

A 24-year-old black woman, Khanyi works for the SARS communications division. Personable and likeable, she will engage with the public through all types of media, making information more understandable by placing it in a context to which people can relate. She represents the values honoured by SARS: mutual respect and trust, equity and fairness, integrity and honesty, transparency and openness, courtesy and commitment.

Though her first language is Zulu, she is fluent in a number of other South African languages. Born and raised in Soweto, she holds a university degree and is serious about her career. She is conscious of her own role in changing inaccurate and outdated perceptions of SARS. However, she also has a good sense of humour and is one of the up-and-coming young black professionals who enjoys all life has to offer.

While Khanyi represents a group of young upwardly mobile women, she is also someone that all South Africans can relate to. A host of other characters have also been created, with whom Khanyi interacts on a daily basis, from family to flat mate, through to business associates. "These interactions reflect a reality that most South Africans experience.", says Carrim.

"Education is one of our country's greatest priorities. An informed and educated population will ensure sustainable growth and strength of a democratic society. SARS acknowledges that it has a responsibility to help new taxpayers overcome any fears they may have that relate to tax, brought on by lack of knowledge and the inherent complicated legal and technical tax terminology," Carrim says.

Khanyi's first project will be to assist taxpayers to file their returns timeously and correctly through her Easy-Guide to Completing your Tax Return. This part of SARS' education campaign was prompted mainly by the fact that there were many errors on tax returns previously, which in turn lead to their rejection by SARS and subsequent objections by taxpayers. "Many of these are simple mistakes, such as failing to sign the return, or neglecting to include the branch number of the taxpayer's bank, or even providing incorrect details on the IRP5 form."

Khanyi is currently educating small business owners on new VAT legislation and Small Business Tax Relief, and is a welcome addition to SARS' other taxpayer education forums, including its website,, regular media announcements, publications and broadcasts. The South African public can also look forward to tax tips from Khanyi at all its offices, on SARS TV.

"We recognise the value of a community approach to the way business, government and citizens collaborate for a better, more effective and productive society, and believe that Khanyisile Khumalo will fill a much needed education gap, bringing innovation to social development," concludes Carrim.

For further information or comment, please contact:

Tasneem Carrim
Tel: (012) 422 4981 or 082 467 9227


[ DISCLAIMER & Index | Mail Webmaster | About Webmaster ]