Cape Town – The 100-year-old granny who stole the hearts of millions when she went sky diving on her birthday has now added another crazy stunt to her bucket list: she paid her tax on Wednesday – the first day of tax filing season.
Georgina Harwood might not be your average pensioner, but she told Fin24 that she was just an ordinary citizen and that paying tax was one of her duties.
‘Keep your integrity’
July 1 was the official start of the tax season and Harwood was invited to cut the ribbon at 7:45 on Wednesday in Lower Long Street, Cape Town.
The dare-devil granny made headlines on her 100th birthday on 10 March 2015, when she skydived over the skies of Cape Town. Six days later, Harwood went shark-cage diving to come face-to-face with the great white.
“My message to the youth of South Africa is to keep their integrity in every way,” she told Fin24 after the tax doors opened to a group of 800 people queuing outside and millions more across the country.
“Pay tax; look after yourselves [and] look after your families,” she said. “I think women should be more aware of their instincts as being carers. “Their families and their homes and their husbands [should be] their first care.”
A life paying tax
“I’ve been earning a salary since I was 25,” she said. “That’s a long time.
“Then I got married, you see, and I didn’t pay any tax because my husband had to pay the tax. Don’t you realise that in the early days, we women didn’t pay any tax.
“Any income I would earn would be added on to my husband’s income,” she said.
She remembers being offered a part-time job for 20 pounds a month and the tax official said if she added that on to her husband’s salary, he would have to pay 200 pounds a year so “it wasn’t worth my while working”.
My pension gets taxed now
SARS now taxes her pension and recently the tax amount has gone up. “They suddenly started taking extra off and I had trouble finding out why,” she said.
“I’ve been contributing to South Africa, in effect, all my life,” she said. “I feel like I’ve been working for South Africa all my life.
“I am proud of being a South African,” she said. “My father came out here in 1901 and set up the health section of the government.”
Harwood was one of six children and the greater family still lives in South Africa and contribute to the tax collection of the country, she explained. “What more do you want,” she asked.
Being a civil servant’s wife, Harwood said they didn’t earn a vast amount of money and so never paid excessive tax. “I’ve had a reasonably comfortable life and I’ve done all the right things.”