Sugar tax would hit poor hardest, says Bevsa

Government has proposed a 20% taxation on sugar-sweetened beverages to curb the obesity rate.

Picture: Freeimages.

JOHANNESBURG - The Beverage Association of South Africa (Bevsa) says Treasury's proposed sugar tax will hit lower income families the hardest.

Government has proposed a 20 percent taxation on sugar-sweetened beverages in an effort to curb the country's high obesity rate.

But Bevsa says it doesn't believe the only real effect the measure will have is to reduce South Africa's GDP by R14 billion.

Despite Treasury's policy paper stating that lower income groups are worst affected by obesity, Bevsa has presented research that shows obesity is more prevalent among higher income groups.

The body's Mapule Ncanywa says this means the proposed tax will affect those who aren't at the root of the problem.

"Some of our members are reporting the impact of this [proposed] tax is way above the 40% mark, so they won't be able to afford [sweetened beverages]."

If the sugar tax proposal is passed, it could see consumers paying up to R6 more for their favourite soft drinks.

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