Johannesburg (15 December 2017) -The Healthy Living Alliance (HEALA) welcomes yesterday’s 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 Coordinator 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 cancer.
According to the Rates and Monetary Act governing the levy, the first 4 grams of sugar per 100ml will be tax exempt. Thereafter a tax of 2,1cents per gram of sugar is to be levied. This works out to be a tax of approximately 10% of a can of Coca-Cola. If a producer does not provide information on the sugar content of its drink, the drink will be taxed based on default rate of 20g of sugar/100ml.
However, during the extensive public consultative process on the sugary drinks tax, health professionals said that sugary drinks should be taxed at a rate of at least 20% in order to curb obesity.
“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. “This is the first step in a right direction for South Africa to tackle its burden of non-communicable diseases and obesity.”