Sugar Tax Additional Reading

Sugar Tax Additional Reading

It’s universally accepted that sugar consumption has negative health consequences. The link between sugary drinks and diseases like diabetes is undeniable [4]. Despite what BevSA claim, there is abundant evidence that the rapid rise in sugar consumption in the past few decades is associated with chronic diseases, especially obesity, diabetes and heart problems. BevSA has vigorously attacked the proposed sugar tax, saying it will cut GDP by R14bn, or 0.4% of GDP growth, as demand for sugary drinks falls [5]. Enterprising sugary-drinks companies could sustain their revenues by moving into healthier untaxed substitutes. That would be more socially responsible than waging a campaign to block efforts that are needed to improve public health in Mzansi

We should rally behind the government’s initiative of imposing the sugar tax so that thousands of lives are saved. For Mzansi, much of the cost of lifestyle diseases falls straight onto the public health system. Rising healthcare costs absorb budgetary resources that could meet other social needs, and weigh down families. This ultimately means that there will be less money for education, roads, housing, etc if the beverage industry has its way. On the other hand, the estimated R11 billion [6] revenue will help Mzansi improve service delivery for the poor.

Health Minister, Aaron Motsoaledi, was quoted as saying that in Africa it is projected that non-communicable diseases (NCDs) at current rates will overtake all other causes of mortality by 2030. He says in South Africa, an estimated 40% of deaths from NCDs among men and 29% among women occur before the age of 60.
Data released by Statistics SA confirms this. It is predicted that by 2030 deaths from NCDs will be five times higher than deaths from communicable diseases including HIV/Aids and Tuberculosis and that the cause of 75% of deaths globally will be from NCD’s [7].

SA has all the features of an unhealthy nation. Of growing concern is the current increase in obesity in adolescents.

Researchers at Wits suggest that such a tax could ease costs of treating that a “20 percent ‘soda tax’ could save the country R10 billion over the next 20 years in costs related to treating rising cases of type 2 diabetes largely caused by poor diet and rising obesity rates”.


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[4] Sugar Tax Threatens Jobs, South Africa Coca-Cola Bottler Says, Liezel Hill and Arabile Gumede for Bloomberg. Aug 22, 2016.

[5] Fatal flaw in sugar industry argument, new analysis shows, Tamar Khan for Business Day. 30 Aug 2016.

[6] SA’s proposed sugar tax: claims about calories & job losses checked. Africa Check 31 AUG 2016

[7] How one of the most obese countries on earth took on the soda giants, Tina Rosenberg for The Guardian. November 3, 2015.

[8] Highest paid bosses in South Africa, Business Tech. Nov 11, 2015.

[9] Calling Time, why SAB Miller should stop dodging taxes in Africa. A report by Action Aid