It’s an interesting conundrum, comparing the billions raised by a sugar tax on cold drinks with its effect of slashing the industry’s contribution to South Africa’s GDP by an estimated R14 billion – and the loss of 60 000 jobs. Crucial to it all is factoring in the heated debate on the government’s smart ‘gilding of the lily’ about how profound the impact will be on the country’s frightening growth in all-cause obesity (basing the proposed 20% sugar tax on fundamentally faulty science, many epidemiologists argue). An easy and cost-effective way of milking money from the taxpayer for non-specific use seems to be a compelling argument, which ironically lends weight to the public and undercover counter-campaigns and shenanigans of global fizzy drink makers… – Chris Bateman
By Adiel Ismail
Cape Town – The Coca-Cola Company is sitting tight after alleged leaked emails exposed the corporate giant’s worldwide war against sugar taxes on cold drinks, which is also on the cards for South Africa.
Hactivist site DC Leaks recently revealed Coca-Cola’s strategy to tackle public health policies at the local, state, national and international levels. These include trying to influence reporters, keeping a close watch on social media influencers and lobbying government.
The internal emails lay bare exchanges between Coca-Cola vice president Michael Goltzman and Capricia Marshall, who is apparently working as a communications consultant for both Coca-Cola and the campaign of US Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton.
Although there appears to be no mention of South Africa in the email chains, countries likes Israel, France, UK, Poland and Bosnia are named.A proposed 20% tax on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) could result in South Africa losing 60 000 jobs in the beverage industry, Coca-Cola Beverages Africa chairperson Phil Gutsche warned. The Beverage Association of SA (Bevsa) added the tax has the potential to slash the industry’s contribution to South Africa’s gross domestic product by R14bn. – Fin24