Cosatu warns against using sugar tax as 'quick fix'

Cosatu says government needs a more comprehensive healthy living plan besides the introduction of a sugar tax.

Picture: Freeimages.com

CAPE TOWN – The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) says government needs a more comprehensive healthy living plan besides the introduction of a sugar tax.

It's made representations to a joint parliamentary committee on finance and health about the introduction of a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages.

Cosatu's parliamentary coordinator Matthew Parks says while the trade union federation is in support of the introduction of a tax, it’s concerned by the thousands of jobs that could be lost in the sugar and beverages industries.

“It shouldn’t simply be about health or revenue collection. This should be about job creation, job protection and how we can grow the economy.”

Earlier this month, the World Health Organisation said taxing sugar-laden drinks could save the lives of almost half a million South Africans over the next four decades.

WHO said a sugar tax could save the country’s strapped public health sector R1.7 billion over the next decade.

However, the sugar and beverage industries said they were being unfairly targeted.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)