As from April 2018, South Africa will start implementing taxes on sugary drinks. The country’s lawmakers passed the bill last year, called the Health Promotion Bill. The law imposes taxes on sugary drinks thus making South Africa the first country in Africa to do so.
About 30 other countries have passed similar laws and they include the United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Philippines, Portugal, India, Saudi Arabia and Thailand.
The law makers said they do this to reduce consumption and slow an increase in health epidemics such as diabetes and obesity. It is intended that the bill will reduce consumption of sugar-sweetened drink as the price of such drinks will increase. The achievement was the result of collaboration among several NGOs, CSOs, WHO, and local and international academics.
Despite opposition from the beverage industry, the move has been backed by different bodies as a brave step in the right direction to combat the scourge of non-communicable diseases in a country where about 69% of women are overweight or obese. The government has also received praise for prioritizing the health of its people above the interest and influence of the international beverage industries.