- Police Minister Bheki Cele seems to be clamping down on smokes amid the Covid-19 lockdown
- Smokers, in addition to not being able to purchase cigarettes, will now be forced to prove how they got their hands on tobacco in the first place
- However, Cele insists that smoking in your home remains perfectly legal during the lockdown
Smokers caught with cigarettes outside of their homes better prepare themselves to do some explaining when encountering law enforcement during lockdown.
Speaking during a media briefing on Friday night, Police Minister Bheki Cele commented that:
“It is not illegal to smoke cigarettes in your house. The only problem is when we find it in a car and you fail to show us where you did you get the cigarette ... and when.If you say you have bought the cigarette, here is the receipt, we’ve got two options there: to get you, and go and get the person who sold the cigarette to you. But if the cigarette was there in your thousand looses and you’re smoking in your home, really, we’re not coming into your house and arrest you,” said Cele.
While this measure will probably come as a shock to most tobacco enthusiasts in Mzansi, Cele was actually providing clarity over an incident where police had taken lockdown restrictions into their own hands:
“A police spokesperson in KZN was quoted as saying that smoking cigarettes in your house is a crime. People have complained about officers confiscating their personal cigarettes during stop and search operations. The regulations say that the sale of tobacco and related products is prohibited. Does that mean that possession of personal cigarettes is a crime?”
With South Africa still being subjected to a ban on alcohol, Cele highlighted that having booze in your car remains illegal:
“Alcohol is very clear, you go and read your regulations. Regulations say there shall be no transportation of alcohol ... Whether it’s in your basket, whether it’s in your pocket, so long as you create some form of transport, you shall not be allowed,” said Cele.
Briefly.co.za reported that Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma had stuck by her anti-tobacco opinion amid the Covid-19 crisis.
A News24 report claimed that a source privy to a NCC meeting had leaked that the minister wished to see the ban extended until Level 1.
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