Africa

Batsa vindicated by unconstitutional ban on tabacco during lockdown

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The Western Cape High Court ruled in favour of tobacco companies in the case against the Cooperative Governance Minister on the ban of the products.

JOHANNESBURG – British American Tobacco South Africa (Batsa) on Saturday said it had been vindicated in its view that the ban on tobacco products was unjustified, ill-considered and had worsened illicit trade.

The Western Cape High Court ruled in favour of tobacco companies in the case against the Cooperative Governance Minister on the ban of the products.

This after Batsa and other industry players took Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma to court earlier this year to challenge the decision to prohibit the sale of tobacco products during the hard lockdown.

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The court said government’s decision was not necessary or consistent with the country’s constitution.

Batsa’s Johnny Moloto called for government to urgently ratify the illicit trade protocol in order to eradicate the illegal sale of cigarettes.

“South Africa now has the largest illicit tobacco market in the world. We call on the government to urgently rectify the WHO illicit trade protocol in order to eradicate all illegal sales of cigarettes. This is the only way for the country to claw back from the losses resulting from the explosion of the illicit trade that occurred during the sales ban (during lockdown).”

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At the time the government said the purpose of the ban was to save lives and protect the health and wellbeing of South Africans.

The sale of tobacco products was returned under level two when lockdown regulations were relaxed.

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