The tax would impose a ZAR0.0229 charge on each gram of sugar

The tax would impose a ZAR0.0229 charge on each gram of sugar

South Africa's Treasury has proposed a 20% tax on sugary soft drinks to help fight obesity-related diseases.

Officials on Friday said the levy, first announced in February, was a "cost-effective strategy to address diet-related disease". The proposed tax rate is ZAR0.0229 (US$0.0016) per gram of sugar, which would add 20% to the cost of a 33cl can of regular Coca-Cola.

Today's announcement comes as the tax proposal is made open for public comment. Officials said they expect the tax to be implemented on 1 April 2017.

South Africa's beverage industry representative, the Beverage Association of South Africa, has previously called the tax "discriminatory" and said the experience of other countries had proved that sugar levies do not work.

Last week's proposal said that only beverages that contain added sugar will be subject to the tax and that unsweetened dairy products and 100% fruit juices will be exempt.

Authorities across the globe are stepping up efforts to impose sugar taxes as they target growing levels of obesity.

Last month, Philadelphia's City Council passed legislation to introduce a city-wide tax on sweetened beverages, making it the first large US city to take the measure. Officials voted in favour of a US$0.015-per-ounce levy on full-sugared and artificially-sweetened soft drinks.

In March, UK Chancellor George Osborne announced a tax on sugary soft drinks that could raise the price of a can of Coke by GBP0.08 (US$.10). 

To read the South African Treasury's proposal, click here.