About 1000 members of the Food and Allied Workers’ Union are expected to march to the national treasury in Pretoria today, protesting against the proposed sugar tax.
“The purpose of the march is to primarily ask the government to convene a summit with relevant stakeholders in order to deal with the overall issue of obesity in relation to the food tax,” Katishi Masemola, the union’s general secretary told City Press.
At the top of the agenda is the mass amount of expected job losses which will be a result of the sugar tax being imposed, with between 5000 and 6000 workers losing their jobs.
The union believes that research that has been conducted by researchers from the treasury on the jobs being created elsewhere are nothing more than “silly claims” as there “is no scientific study to prove this.”
“We support a quest for a healthy nation and want an obesity-free population if that means a citizenry not prone to heart problems, strokes and hypertensions, diabetes and other non-communicable diseases. However, we not believe that a tax on sugar-sweetened beverage products will be a mechanism to achieve the intended health objectives,” Masemola said.
Katishi said that even though government has called for more people to pay their taxes and that as a nation everyone has to find alternative ways in order to get more tax-related revenue, “introducing a sugar tax is disingenuous.
“Why not deal with other foods and consumables which are high in tax like chocolates and sweets in that case? People can still eat other food and continue to be obese,” Katishi said.
The handing over off a memorandum is expected to take place at about 12pm today.