Public comments on govt’s proposed sugar tax close in August

The deadline for written submissions on the Policy Paper is the 22 August.

Picture: Free Images.

CAPE TOWN - South Africans have several weeks to comment on government's proposal to levy a 20 percent tax on sugary drinks from April.

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan announced plans to tax sugar-sweetened beverages during his budget speech in February.

The deadline for written submissions on the Policy Paper is the 22 August.

The sugar tax is a way for the state to tackle obesity, a major risk factor for non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer, which burden the public healthcare sector.

Treasury's Ismail Momoniat says the primary aim is to get South Africans to make healthier choices.

"It's not that government is going to get real money out of this. If people seriously reduce their consumption, we get no revenue and we'd be very happy that was the case, because then it means people are healthier."

Finland, France and Hungary have already introduced a similar tax and several other countries are following suit.