50 signatures reached
To: Zweli Mkhize, Minister of Health
Help recruit Minister Mkhize as an ally in our fight for 20% sugary drinks tax
Dear Minister of Health Zweli Mkhize,
We are calling on you to use your position as a member of cabinet to call on Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni to increase the Health Promotion Levy to 20%. We fully support a HPL of 20% as an effective way of preventing NCDs like type-2 diabetes. And you have an opportunity now to show us that you are making your work against NCDs a priority by joining us.
Why is this important?
Last year, when Dr Zweli Mkhize was appointed as our new Minister of Health, we ran a welcome campaign to help ensure the fight against non-communicable diseases (NCDs) was high on his agenda. Late last year Minister Mkhize attended a Diabetes awareness event where he was asked if he supports the World Health Organisation’s recommended 20% sugary drinks tax. His spokesperson Dr Lwazi Manzi responded stating that Minister Mkhize supports the principle of the sugary drinks tax. Dr Manzi said that:
“The minister cannot proclaim on the actual number as that is the business of Treasury [but] he supports the principle of the sugar tax,” .
So what does this mean for our campaign? The good news is that the minister has not only acknowledged that diabetes needs to be priority, but he has also stated that reducing sugar in drinks and consumable foods is important. This sends a message that the minister of health could be an ally.
We need all the allies we can find because we are up against greedy companies like Coca Cola who want to protect their profits and are fighting against the sugary drinks tax. Minister Mkhize may do more to support a stronger sugary drinks tax if we show him that there is enough public support. If enough of us come together and send messages of support, it could help convince him to use his position as a member of Cabinet to call on Treasury to increase the sugary drinks tax to 20%.
With Finance Minister Tito Mboweni preparing to deliver his Budget Speech on the 26th of February, we have a window of opportunity to recruit Health Minister Mkhize to convince Treasury to put our nation's health first.
In the words of the Health Minister, “Every South African has been affected by diabetes- whether directly or indirectly. For those who have experienced or witnessed the complications of this deadly disease, it can be devastating and disruptive for families and communities.” 
Let’s make sure Minister Mkhize knows that if he’s serious about fighting NCDs, he will have to implement a stronger sugary drinks tax.