South Africa’s 11 percent tax on sugary beverages – called a Health Promotion Levy – is due to be introduced on 1 April 2018. HEALA with its partners advocated for introductory of the sugar tax.
The process led to the adoption of the tax in November 2017 was highly contested and the beverage industry invested considerable resources in fighting it and it is likely to continue to contest its implementation.
Parliament has undertaken to monitor the implementation of the tax to ensure it is not detrimental to the economy and politicians are still being heavily lobbied to stalled or water down the tax. HEALA intends to continue to press for a 20% tax. We will be monitoring and reporting on how the proceeds of the levy will be allocated to ensure it is allocated to health promotion and doesn’t simply go to servicing government debt.
In 2017, our obesity prevention campaign established the dangers of sugary drinks in the public mind and, by the end of the year, over three quarters of South Africans supported taxing sugary drinks.