Smokers and alcohol drinkers need no longer feel alone when it comes to being the targets of punitive excise duties. From April 1 they will be joined by consumers of sugary drinks. The initial hit that sugary-drink consumers face is a levy of 2.1c/g of sugar, with the first 4g/100ml exempt. Hogan Lovells estimates that the levy will lead to an 11% rise in the price of sugary drinks. It will also extract over R1bn in additional tax revenue from consumers. The SA Revenue Service describes the sugar levy as being in support of the department of health’s aim to decrease diabetes, obesity and other related diseases. But it comes with more than just an added cost to consumers. A study conducted by the Bureau for Food & Agricultural Policy for the SA Sugar Association found that the levy will result in a 200,000t fall in annual sugar demand which in turn will lead to the loss of an estimated 3,129 direct farm jobs, most of them among small growers. For smokers and consumers of alcoholic be...

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