The sugarcane industry has also warned that job losses will likely occur as a result of the tax on sugary drinks passed by Parliament on Tuesday.
This marks the end of 18 months of negotiations on the tax, that included four public hearings and a negotiation process in Nedlac.
The tax, due to be implemented on 1 April 2018, will see the price of a can of Coca-Cola increase by around 11 percent.
“We applaud Members of Parliament for putting the health of millions of South Africans before the narrow interests of the beverage and sugar industries,” said Tracey Malawana, coordinator of the Healthy Living Alliance (Heala).
“Thanks to Treasury and MPs, South Africa is on the right path to reverse the alarming numbers of diabetes cases and other NCDs (non-communicable diseases) associated with obesity. We now look to the President to sign this important law without delay.”
But SA Sugar Association (SASA) nutrition manager, Priya Seetal, said the low world price for sugar, inadequate tariff protection and the rising input costs added to a bleak outlook, and with the additional impact of the levy, sugar mills would have to close in the coastal production regions, resulting in a loss of over 20 000 direct jobs in the next five to seven years.
It would negatively affect the livelihoods of over 90 000 people, she said.