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Sugar tax confirmed for South Africa in 2017

Sugar tax confirmed for South Africa in 2017

South Africans with a sweet tooth will be punished with a higher tax on sweet stuff.  In his budget speech on Wednesday, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan announced that a sugar tax will be levied with effect from 1 April 2017.

A sugar tax has been mooted by a growing number of consumer bodies and health experts who have been calling for a tax on sweetened sugar beverages (SSBs) to help curb the tide of obesity in SA, which is the foremost cause of obesity in Sub-saharan Africa.

Fin24 reported on Wednesday that there was speculation that an announcement could follow in the budget speech.

“This year, in view of the need to raise additional revenue and reduce the budget deficit, we have paid special attention to the fairness and inclusivity of the  tax system,” stated Gordhan.

Among the tax proposals put on the table by the minister is an “introduction of a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages”.

Consuming large amounts of sugar puts people at high risk for lifestyle diseases like diabetes, stroke and obesity.

Research by the University of Witwatersrand found that a suggested 20% tax on SSBs could possibly reduce obesity in 220 000 adults.

SSBs include the following: still and carbonated soft drinks, fruit juices, sports drinks, energy drinks and vitamin waters, sweetened ice tea, lemonade, cordials and squashes. Other countries that have introduced a sugar tax include France, Mexico and several states in the US.

“We’re very impressed with Treasury for taking this step forward,” said health sociologist Aviva Tugendhaft, deputy director of research programme Priceless SA at the Wits School of Public Health.

She said they will continue to provide evidence that supports this approach.”Our research shows the significant impact that a SSB tax will have on improving the health of the country and generating revenue,” said Tugendhaft.

“In order for the full health benefits to be achieved a SSB tax will need to be part of an even wider comprehensive approach to address obesity and its related diseases.”

Tugendhaft said this will have to include things like easy to understand food labelling, advertising regulations and making healthier foods more affordable, among others.However, Ernst Janovsky, senior agricultural economist with Absa noted with concern that a sugar tax will hit the sugar industry.

Janovsky said this new tax will lead to a decline in sugar usage, resulting in lower domestic sugar prices which will have a negative impact on the sugar industry.

Meanwhile, smokers and drinkers will again be heavily taxed.

The duty on a packet of 20 cigarettes will up from R12.43 to R13.24, and that on a can of beer (340ml) from 124c to 135c.


More on a sugar tax

Why Gordhan should announce a sugar tax for South Africa

Why South Africa needs a sugar tax

South Africa’s sugary drinks shock

SA drinks tax could promote health: Wits

Soft drinks and juices lead the way to obesity in SA

News24Wire is the news wire service offered by Media24. It covers all the latest happenings in South Africa, and abroad....
Join the Conversation
  • James Dean

    “sugar tax will be levied with effect from 1 April 2017”

    In other words it won’t happen.

    • mariuskoch

      Oh my… You are in for a surprise aren’t you?

  • honkydud3

    From the first of April LOL……..April fooooool

  • Joe Soap


  • Carvelle

    Adding a rand or less to the price of a can ofcoke is not gonna stop anyone who is craving coke. Just saying

    • Lone Stranger

      Just another money making scheme. I agree that one or two rand will not change it.

  • Laurence Merry

    “curb obesity” my left nut. Adding tax to something I want isn’t going to stop me, or anyone else from buying it. Discipline will. May as well tax fast food industries or charge the companies that make unhealthy products more to manufacture them. But oh wait, I guess the Government would get more money out of the customer than the supplier. Useless.

  • Ross Bateman

    WTF does my health have to do with the tax man… is he worried I will die before he has milked me dry of all my hard earned cash.

    • Johan Lewis Last

      Yes, a healthy cow is better than a dead/skinny one…….hehe

  • Blapartheid Zulu

    well… hope the poor suffers! No wait… the more they suffer the more they will vote anc… time to move to WC

  • EarToTheGround

    As Lone Stranger has already stated…..

    Just another way to get into our pockets and prop up the corruption and financial short-falls of this impotent cANCer circus government.

    Like cold drinks and cigarettes arnt already taxed when sent to market !! …its called DOUBLE-TAXATION … and its a very clear and distinct sign of money grabbing to avoid collapse of this government and the imminent depletion of OUR country’s funds.

    Hey cANCer, I wear a clean pair of undies everyday, When are you pillocks gonna start taxing me on that !!!!!!!!


  • Shane Barker

    start with the SAP and parliamentarians –

  • Brinley Pavitt

    Does the tax money go into our health system? Or is pocket money like some other taxes we pay?

    • mariuskoch

      No. It will be used to fund the increase in expenditure on civil servants and monarchs. It was announced already. The minute that the new revenue was confirmed, these idiots spent twice as much again.

      • Brinley Pavitt

        Thanks. I don’t know what we’re gonna do. Seriously. Not all of us can afford to leave the country but this place is becoming unbearable.

  • Jeff Jones

    Start making your own sweets get all the latest recipes of Google

    The poor love sweets cause that is all they have ….Good .

    I will go out of my way to not buy sweets or coke.

  • Fanandala

    The tire tax was initially meant to operate a scheme to get rid of old tires, but nothing was done, the money just vanishes. The plastic bag duty was supposed- said- to start a recycling scheme of plastics, nothing came of it. Fuel levies are supposed to be used for roads, and then they thought of toll roads. Is the sugar tax going to finance healthcare and nutritional education?
    I don’t care about sugar and sweets. I only eat cakes if it is completely unavoidable. I never take sugar from the bowl but in my opinion sugar is just a carbohydrate, like pasta or rice ….. or maize meal. Now go ahead and tax maize meal.

  • Johan Lewis Last

    Don’t worry, with all the taxes people will have to pay there will be NO money for ANY sweet stuff anymore, making this Sugar Tax null void and just as useless as the government.

  • Rob Charlton

    This is not a health initiative, it is a tax collection mechanism, just like the alcohol and tobacco and plastic bag taxes/levies/add-ons.

  • David Robert Lewis

    Not sure where they getting this, he appeared to levy a tax on sugared drinks, ie fizzy drinks, not sugar per se.

  • Judy Nel

    Reduce price of fruit and vegetable and non-refined cereals oats etc – also fast food should be taxed is that not more responsible for obesity than sweet drinks?

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