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Treasury has rejected claims of calamitous job losses resulting from the imposition of a health promotion levy. Industry has estimated that job losses across the value chain would number about 24,000, with 1,795 permanent and 2,835 seasonal jobs being lost in sugarcane farming. The estimate of the Congress of South African Trade Unions is about 7,000 job losses. But Treasury director of business taxes Warren Harris said job losses could be much lower than this. Treasury and health officials appeared before Parliament’s standing committee on finance Wednesday to present government’s response to public hearings on the proposal to tax sugary beverages at a rate of 2.1c per gram of sugar beyond a threshold of 4g of sugar per 100ml. The aim of the tax is to address obesity and noncommunicable diseases. Harris said Treasury had modelled the potential impacts of the proposed levy on sugary beverages and its initial analysis suggested that a tax of 2.1c per gram of sugar would result in a 6...

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