The proposed tax on sweetened drinks will help improve public health despite overwrought opposition from industry.
The South African government’s decision to tax sugary drinks to help cut excess sugar consumption, which is contributing to burgeoning epidemics of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, follows the lead of Mexico and the US city of Berkeley, where a “soda tax” on sugar-sweetened beverages has shown positive results.
In Mexico, research predicts a win-win outcome: it may greatly decrease disease and death from diabetes and cardiovascular disease while reducing health care costs.
What can be expected in South Africa is overwrought and highly emotive opposition from the sugary drink industry.
Coca-Cola Beverages Africa chairman Phil Gutsche denounces the sugar tax as murderous and discriminatory.
This opposition to an effective measure to protect and improve the public’s health occurs in the context of a seven-decade battle between public health (David) and unhealthy industries (Goliaths).