Johannesburg - Africa's biggest Coke bottler, Coca-Cola Beverages Africa, will rethink its spending plans in South Africa if Pretoria's proposed tax on sugary drinks gets the green light, a spokeswoman said on Thursday.
In a bid to fight a growing obesity rate in the continent's most lucrative market for Coca-Cola and fast-food chains in sub-Saharan Africa, the government has proposed a 20 percent tax on sugar sweetened drinks under a plan that has delighted health campaigners and angered drink makers.
Coca-Cola Beverages Africa was created earlier this year through a combination of SABMiller and Coca-Cola African soft drink operations. The deal won an anti-trust go-ahead on several conditions that included a commitment to spend 800 million rand to develop farmers and retailers.
“It is not what the company is wanting to do but when you look at the impact the tax would have, we will have relook at some investment commitments we have made,” said Coca-Cola southern African spokeswoman Vukani Magubane.
The proposed levy, which was first announced by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan in February, is expected to be implemented this year. Last month, the Treasury has asked the public submit comments on the proposal by August 22.