University of Pretoria

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Influences on tax policy change in South Africa : sugar tax and value-added tax

posted on 2024-06-14, 10:50 authored by Sarah PienaarSarah Pienaar

The study identifies the primary influences underlying the introduction of a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages and the increase in the standard VAT rate by way of a historical institutionalist analysis to examine the complex political environment that is tax policy development in South Africa. A case study approach is followed, blending theoretically-informed document analysis and data collected from 30 semi-structured interviews with a diverse range of actors. The pressing need to combat the escalating obesity crisis and the related surge in non-communicable diseases was identified as the main influence on the introduction of the sugar tax in SA. Meanwhile, the influences leading to the VAT rate increase, were identified as corruption, wasteful government spending, and the demand for more government revenue. This research shows how historical institutionalism can be harnessed to attain a deeper grasp of tax policy change in the context of research in African and other developing countries.




Sustainable Development Goals

  • 8 Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • 10 Reduced Inequalities
  • 1 No Poverty