National Liquor Traders: The term 'sin tax' is unconstitutional, stop using it

The National liquor traders said they were disappointed with the increases in alcohol and tobacco products announced by Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana on Wednesday.

FILE: National Liquor Traders convener Lucky Ntimane said the minister was able to talk to them ahead of the Budget and they knew he had a tough balancing act to do. Picture: 123rf.com

JOHANNESBURG - National Liquor Traders convener Lucky Ntimane said people should stop saying sin taxes as that term was unconstitutional.

The group said they were disappointed with the increases in alcohol and tobacco products announced by Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana on Wednesday.

Delivering his maiden Budget Speech, Godongwana announced that excise duties on alcohol and tobacco would increase by between 4.5% and 6.5% from Wednesday.

Speaking to John Perlman, Ntimane said the minister was able to talk to them ahead of the Budget and they knew he had a tough balancing act to do.

"We had made it clear to the president and the Minister of Finance that we need to get away from using that word (sin tax), which is anti-constitutional. We are excited about that and feel it brings dignity to the trade."

He said they were disappointed that the increases were above inflation.

"What it means is that the illicit market, which is above R20 billion per annum, is going to celebrate because they won't be taking any access duty this time around and people are going to move there to buy. They are the real winners in this budget."

However, Ntimane said they had seen that the drinking patterns had not changed in the country.