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To: Nqaba Kwankwa, UDM Chief Whip

UDM Vote Yes In The National Assembly For The Health Promotion Levy

UDM Vote Yes In The National Assembly For The Health Promotion Levy

It is disappointing that MP Nqaba Kwankwa who sits on the Standing Committee on Finance was absent during a critical vote to pass the Health Promotion Levy (Sugary Drinks Tax), we call on the UDM to ensure it's MP's choose health over corporate greed and ensure its members in the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces vote yes to implement the Health Promotion Levy as is.

The cost of failing to pass the Health Promotion Levy is severe. With 10,000 new cases of diabetes reported each month [1], it's important UDM gives its members a mandate to vote and pass the Health Promotion Levy now. We can't afford any further delays.

Why is this important?

Diabetes is the leading cause of death for South African women [2], yet the beverage industry is desperately trying to delay and further water down the sugary drinks tax (Health Promotion Levy). BevSA and Coca-Cola’s job losses scaremongering has been exposed as exaggerated [1] and self serving [3]. A recent study showed that 3/4s of adult South Africans believe that government is doing the right thing when it makes and enforces policy to discourage the consumption of sugary beverages and junk foods [4].

We can’t underestimate how far the likes of Coca-Cola will go to protect their profits at the expense of our health. Leaked Coca-Cola executive emails show that the company has managed to get a “seat at the table in on-going regulatory discussions with the Ministry of Health” and has been fighting the tax [5]. BevSA and Coca-Cola also managed to keep health experts and advocates out of the NEDLAC process. Treasury seems to be standing up against companies like Coca-Cola and announced that the sugary drinks tax is likely to be introduced in April 2018. Treasury Deputy Director General Ismail Momoniat went one step further, acknowledging the criticism from the health sector regarding the watering down of the sugary drinks tax, stating that they would “... increase the tax until we get the result we need” [6].

South Africa can’t afford any further delays or the watering down of the sugary drinks tax.

[1] Sugar tax: Job losses lower than industry’s projections. Amy Green for Health-e news June 2017
[2] Diabetes - the silent killer. Amy Green for Health-e News August 15, 2017
[3] SA’s proposed sugar tax: claims about calories & job losses checked. Kate Wilkinson & Vinayak Bhardwaj for Africa Check August 2016
[4] 70% of South Africans support sugar tax - Genesis study August 31, 2017 http://www.genesis-analytics.com/news/2017/70-of-sa-suppports-sugar-tax-genesis-study
[5] New #CokeLeak: Soda Tax Opposition in 8 More Countries. https://medium.com/cokeleak/new-cokeleak-soda-tax-opposition-in-8-more-countries-a53e2df3d8e4
[6] Sugary drinks tax set for April next year. Kerry Cullinan for Health-E News September 2017

South Africa

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Updates

2017-12-07 00:49:48 +0200

Petition is successful with 30 signatures

2017-11-20 21:48:47 +0200

25 signatures reached

2017-11-20 14:17:44 +0200

10 signatures reached