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Proposed sugar tax not sweet for all

While some interested parties say the proposed sugar tax is a good idea, others think it's discriminatory.

Picture: Freeimages.

JOHANNESBURG - There's been mixed reaction to government's proposed sugar tax, with some saying it's discriminatory as it will not make an impact on consumption, while others say it's a good idea.

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan made the proposal during his budget speech in February, in a bid to help South Africans reduce the intake of excessive amounts of sugar.

The State intends to introduce the tax in April next year.

However, the beverages industry is warning if the 20 percent surcharge on sugar-sweetened drinks goes ahead, 60,000 people will lose their jobs.

Priceless SA's Karen Hofman is a supporter of the proposed taxation.

"I think the tax is a good idea and we need to consider what it's going to do in South Africa. It'll save 250,000 people in the short-term from becoming obese. Taxation is one of the most effective ways to deal with the contribution of sugary beverages to diabetes and obesity."

LISTEN: Hofman speaks to Radio 702's John Robbie about the benefits of the tax.

EFFECTS ON ECONOMY

The Beverage Association of South Africa (Bevsa) says the introduction of a sugar tax could reduce the country's GDP by R14 billion.

Bevsa says it wants government to scrap its proposed taxation on sugar-sweetened drinks and instead conduct a thorough socio-economic assessment to find ways of tackling obesity.

Yesterday was the cut-off date for the body to make its comments to Treasury on the proposed sugar tax.

Bevsa executive director Mapule Ncanywa says studies show that the sugar tax will have a minimal impact on obesity, but have serious effects on the economy.

"A 2 litre Coke that you buy today at R18,50 will have R4,80 added to it. This means from R18,50, you'll now pay R24,50 (sic). This is no small number."

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