The tax on sugary drinks (first four grams per 100ml are not taxed; each subsequent gram is taxed at about 2.5c/g) has raised R5.4-bn in revenue for government since it was signed into effect.

According to Prof Karen Hofman, director of Priceless SA, the purchase of these drinks has fallen by 51% since the levy was introduced.

The levy does not include nectars and any juice drinks, despite the fact that fruit juices contain more sugar than a regular soft drink. Hofman said doubling the levy to the original recommended rate could result in long-term impacts on weight gain and reduce the risk of diabetes, hypertension and other non-communicable diseases

Before the pandemic, South Africa spent R13.2-bn a year on covering the costs of caring for those with diabetes and hypertension. The cost is expected to increase to R35.1-bn by 2030.

Other news