Removing the VAT on more food and lowering import taxes on food consumed by low-income households is a quick way to end hunger in South Africa.

MP Dion George suggested zero chicken, beef, canned beans, flour, margarine, peanuts, butter, baby food, tea, coffee, and instant he soup. George said this “will have a very small impact on the nation’s ficus, but it will make a big difference for people living in food shortages.”

VAT is 15%. Anchovies, cornmeal, juice, dried beans, lentils, milk powder, rice, vegetables, fruit, vegetable oil, whole grain bread and eggs are already exempt.

Finance Minister Enok Godungwana is due to release a medium-term fiscal policy statement on 26 October.

The prosecution urged Godongwana to intervene to reduce food prices amid rising living costs and to submit proposed non-VAT rate items for review by an expert panel.

According to the Household Affordability Index produced by the Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice & Dignity Group, the average cost of 44 basic grocery baskets is up R500 from last year.

Foods tracked included cornmeal, rice, soft flour, white sugar, cooking oil, potatoes and onions, portions of frozen chicken, bouillon cubes, tea, whole milk, powdered milk, eggs, beef, worth, tomatoes, carrots, spinach, cabbage, green vegetables, peppers, anchovies, canned bananas, apples and oranges, margarine, bread and apricot jam.

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