Covid-19: President Ramaphosa denies hidden tobacco ban agenda

Covid-19: President Ramaphosa denies hidden tobacco ban agenda

- President Cyril Ramaphosa has slammed the notion that the government has an agenda relating to the ban on tobacco sales during lockdown

- Ramaphosa insists the call to extend the ban during Level 4 was consultative

- This comes as the president visited KwaZulu-Natal where he viewed a quarantine site

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President Cyril Ramaphosa has dismissed claims that the government has an alternative agenda when it comes to the tobacco ban during Level 4 lockdown.

Speaking to the media in KwaZulu-Natal, where the president inspected a quarantine facility, Ramaphosa commented.

"No one is trying to pursue any interests. The only interests we are pursuing is the health of our people, finish and klaar." reported that the Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association had taken the decision to ban the manufacture, sale and even export of cigarettes to court.

In this regard, the president explained that South Africa remained a free country where such action remains possible.

READ ALSO: Covid-19 update: Ramaphosa talks tobacco, SASSA botches payments

"We live in a free country. The content of our democracy is such that if you feel aggrieved you are entitled to take your grievance to the court of the country and that's what they've elected to do. And we still have great confidence in the courts of our country that they are able to examine matters and disputes properly and that's how it is going to go forward."

News24 reports that Ramaphosa indicated the government had opted to change its mind over the ban.

"We are a listening government. As much as we may have decided on an issue, when our people raise concerns, we listen and re-examine our position and that is precisely what happened. It was done on a very controversial issue and we accept that. There is nothing wrong whatsoever with any one of us changing our minds."

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