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Fight against lockdown tobacco ban intensifies


VANDERBIJLPARK – THE fights by major role players in South Africa’s tobacco value chain, alongside civil rights organisations, against the government’s ban on cigarettes during the lockdown is gaining momentum.

Afri Forum, the civil rights organisation, said it had served Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, with a letter informing her of the legal action it is taking if the ban was not lifted.

Fair-trade Independent Tobacco Association (FITA) chairperson, Sinenhlanhla Mguni, also provided an update on their legal action.

“We have received a directive from the Pretoria High court that our matter will be heard on June 9 and 10, 2020,” Mguni said.

British American Tobacco (BAT), South Africa’s largest private tobacco manufacturer, with support from Japan Tobacco International, has also started urgent legal proceedings to fight the ban.

The ban, which the government has said is because of tobacco’s impact on health, has led to a rise in illicit trade.

AgriSA, in a statement, also appealed to the government to investigate and act on the illicit trade of tobacco products.

It argued the illicit trade not only crippled the economy but was not assisting efforts to stop the virus.

– CAJ News