I don’t think 99% of people who’ve emigrated need to worry about this. From what I understand it would only apply when you are an SA tax resident as @pretor mentioned, meaning you would need to be in SA for more than 180 days or something. I think SARS is annoyed because they have no clue how many people actually emigrated and the ones who did probably don’t do their annual returns, they just ignore it and it shows as outstanding on SARS side.
Is the key to this not this sentence from the article: "It states that South African tax residents abroad will be required to pay tax to South Africa of up to 45% of their foreign employment income, where it exceeds the R1 million threshold."?
If you do not meet the definition of a South African Tax Resident, would this still apply to you? I believe not. See here for SARS definition of a "Tax Resident".
THIS explains it further.
I know this has been discussed on the forums but it was only today that I wondered if I should give up my SA citizenship because of this. Any thoughts?
South Africa’s big expat tax is coming (Article 6 Jan 2019)