In what could be yet another blow to South Africaʼs struggling sugar industry and beverage companies, leading international scholars want SA to double its sugar tax to help curb obesity related diseases, reports BusinessLIVE.
In a newspaper advert signed by professors from institutions such as the University of Cape Town, Wits University, Oxford in the UK and Harvard and Duke in the US, they said the levy should be doubled, noting that obesity-related diseases are among the top 10 causes of death. Apart from raising more revenue, they said, an increased tax would be a key instrument in fighting “rapidly increasing” diet-related diseases like type 2 diabetes.
While the levy has generated R5.8bn in revenue over the first two fiscal years, it has translated to higher costs for an industry battling to emerge from the violent unrest that engulfed KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng in July.
Coca-Cola Beverages Africa blamed the sugar levy for bringing the sugar industry to its knees, costing some 9,000 jobs.
BusinessLIVE said the sector generates some R14bn a year and directly employs about 85,000 workers, while supporting 350,000 jobs across the value chain. The academics disputed industry arguments on job losses, saying data showed “no statistically significant change in employment”.
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