WATCH | Widows march to relay grievances with Sars over taxation

Emotions ran high outside the Sars building as scores of Eastern Cape widows who travelled from far and wide marched to make their grievances against Sars heard.

More than 100 women clad in black - the colour commonly worn by widows in African cultures to mark the deaths of their spouses - accused Sars of unfairly taxing them and plundering their pension funds.

The widows chanted, sang and some were in tears as they asked Sars officials if their crime was losing their loved ones.

The widows gathered  outside Road Lodge in Selborne and braved the scorching heat as they marched to Sars offices in Chiselhurst carrying a large banner reading "Abahlolokazi Base Mzansi- Afrika" [The widows of South Africa].

Most of them also held placards reading: "Is it a crime to be a widow?"

The angry women told Sars officials that they were finally taking action against Sars for the pain and heartache they've endured.

Many of the women are employed in jobs ranging from teaching to cleaning, and also receive a monthly stipend as government's maintenance of surviving spouses beneficiaries.

The angry women told Sars officials that after years of receiving legal threats from the organ of state, they were finally taking action against Sars for the pain and heartache they've endured.

Ntomboxolo Ziqu from Fort Beaufort said she was still being taxed after being a widower for 27 years. "My husband died in 1991, and I was still a young wife and mother then. I'm now working as a teacher and Sars is taxing high amounts from me. They claim large portions of my salary and leave me with nothing. It's been such a traumatic experience, we live under constant stress because Sars is taking the little we have for themselves," she said

Sars boss Rashid Ishmail welcomed the memorandum submitted by the widows, and commended them "for their bravery".

"Sars is an organ of state that applies the laws given by legislature. We do not have authority to change the laws. We can only do so much, but I will escalate this to the relevant authorities. The legislature itself needs to change before Sars can do anything," Ishmail said.