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Sugar tax doesn’t address health problems, says dietician

The National Council of Provinces has passed a bill which introduces a tax on sugary drinks.

FILE: Picture: Freeimages.com.

CAPE TOWN - A dietitian says South African consumers will continue to buy sugary drinks even if they come at a higher price.

The National Council of Provinces has passed a bill which introduces a tax on sugary drinks and once President Jacob Zuma signs it into law the tax can be implemented by April 2018.

Dietician Magda Pieters says a price increase doesn’t address health problems.

“If the general public and people who don’t read well don’t know why it’s about their health… they’ll just moan about the high price and continue buying it, same as with cigarettes and alcohol.”

The tax is expected to be implemented in April 2018.

South Africa joins Portugal, India, Saudi Arabia and Thailand who have all passed similar taxes this year.

SUGARY DRINK SALES

An economist says a new tax on sugary drinks will not have any long-term negative effects on soft drink manufacturers.

Chief Economist Dawie Roodt does not forecast any large job cuts as a result of the tax, but he says bigger companies and supermarkets may see some form of a decline in sales and the demand may be less.

“It’s really not going to impact cool drinks companies. In the short term what usually happens is there a new jerk reaction, people stop drinking cool drinks or start using much less of it.”

LISTEN: ‘Sugar tax limits sugar intake’

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)

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