SMMEs against calls to tax junk food

According to HEALA, the increased revenue for the state could contribute to higher child support

According to HEALA, the increased revenue for the state could contribute to higher child support and COVID-19 relief grants, and also contribute to a basic income grant that is being considered by the government

Author: Tebogo Mokwena

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The Healthy Living Alliance (HEALA) wants South Africa’s sugar tax to be extended to include ultra-processed food and junk food. However, its proposal to The Treasury for its Medium-Term Budget has not gone down well with small business owners, who believe that it will put a dent in their pockets.

According to HEALA, the increased revenue for the state could contribute to higher child support and COVID-19 relief grants, and also contribute to a basic income grant that is being considered by the government. Vutivi News spoke to SMME owners Tiyani Maluleke of Grub Worx and Puleng Sekekete of Dintle Chocolate, who both believe that an additional tax will be detrimental for small businesses.

“As a black manufacturer owning a small business production costs are quite high and to introduce this tax on ultra-processed food would be unfair for small business,” Sekekete said. “If someone wants to eat ultra-processed food, it’s their business. So, I don’t understand why I must pay more. If I don’t want to eat broccoli, I won’t eat it.” Sekekete believes that the problems facing the country have more to do with corruption than anything else. “If there could be money disappearing due to corruption, it means that we are not short of money. It is just not managed well,” she said.

“… if they say that you must tax us as SMMEs, we will suffer.”

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