South Africans will start paying tax on
sugary drinks from 1 April 2018, according to an Act gazetted yesterday.
According to the Rates and Monetary Amounts
and Amendment of Revenue Laws Act, a “health promotion levy” will be introduced
on this date. With this levy, the first 4 grams of sugar per 100ml are to be
exempt. Thereafter, a tax of 2.1 cents per gram of sugar will be levied.
A victory for public health
works out to be a tax of approximately 10% of a can of Coca Cola.
If a manufacturer does not provide
information on the sugar content of its drink, the drink will be taxed based on
a default rate of 20g of sugar per 100ml, according to the Act.
The Healthy Living Alliance (HEALA)
welcomed the promulgation of the Health Promotion Levy, which introduces a tax
on sugary drinks.
“We applaud the leadership of this country
for prioritising the health of millions of South Africans over the narrow
interests of the beverage and sugar industries,” said HEALA Co-ordinator Tracey
Malawana. “While the Levy is a victory for public health, we still believe that
it should be increased to 20% in order for it to have a significant impact.”
Sugary drinks play a major role in obesity,
and a range of related diseases including diabetes, hypertension, strokes and
Curb that sweet tooth
“HEALA will continue to advocate for a
stronger tax in the coming year and we will also be monitoring government
spending to ensure that the proceeds from the tax will be spent on health
promotion,” added Malawana, saying that her organisation wanted a 20% tax on
“This is the first step in the right
direction for South Africa to tackle its burden of non-communicable diseases
The Beverage Association of SA (BevSA) has
campaigned relentlessly against the tax, which is says is “punitive” and will
hurt the economy and not address obesity.
However, Malawana said it is a tax that no
one needs to pay if they can curb their sweet tooth. – Health-e News.
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