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President Jacob Zuma has signed the health promotion levy (or sugar tax) into law and the South African Revenue Service (SARS) has announced that it will begin collecting it from April 1 2018. The Treasury estimates that the levy, while not intended as a tax-raising measure, will bring in revenue of between R1bn and R1.5bn for the fiscus annually. The levy is part of the government’s efforts to prevent and control noncommunicable diseases and to combat obesity. It has been set at 2.1c a gram of sugar content that exceeds 4g per 100ml, which means the first 4g per 100ml will be free of the levy. The levy is provided for in the Rates and Monetary Amounts and Revenue Laws Amendment Bill, which was passed in Parliament on December 5 and signed by Zuma last week. This followed lengthy negotiations in the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) and extensive public hearings by Parliament’s finance committee. Treasury deputy director-general Ismail Momoniat welcomed the p...

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