Bevsa: Sugar tax won’t reduce obesity

Bevsa has called on government to consider a collaborative effort to tackle obesity.

FILE: Coke. Picture: Freeimages.com.

JOHANNESBURG - The Beverage Association of South Africa ( Bevsa) says it believes implementing a sugar tax on soft drinks is the wrong way to reduce obesity because the beverages aren't the cause of increasing weight gain.

Bevsa has called on government to consider a collaborative effort to tackle obesity and diabetes, rather than introducing its proposed 20 percent tax.



It says the proposed measures could severely affect the performance of the beverage industry, reducing South Africa's gross domestic product by R14 billion.

Bevsa says there are other consumables that contribute far more calories to the average South African diet than sugar sweetened beverages.

The association's Mapule Ncanywa says Treasury appears to have overlooked several factors in the food industry before proposing the sugar tax.

"Vegetable oil grew 1.100 in energy consumption, 351 in the poultry. We understand that sugar consumption has gone down but we're still being targeted."

Bevsa says because soft drinks aren't the cause of obesity in South Africa, the tax wont achieve the impact government is hoping for.

But the body says it's open to working with treasury to conduct a socio-economic assessment that will find a suitable way of dealing with obesity.