- The DA has called upon President Cyril Ramaphosa to fire Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma
- The opposition party claims that the COGTA minister has been lying to SA over her reason for the continued tobacco ban
- This comes as the lockdown regulation faces immense backlash over the controversial decision
The Democratic Alliance wants President Cyril Ramaphosa to fire Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
In a statement released by the party, leader John Steenhuisen explained that it felt the minister had been less than honest over her reasons for the tobacco ban in SA:
“It appears that Minister Dlamini-Zuma lied to South Africans in her justification for the continued ban on the sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products. If this is indeed the case, then President Ramaphosa surely has no choice but to fire her from his cabinet."
Steenhuisen explained that Dlamini-Zuma had claimed the decision was made partly based on over 2 000 public submissions supporting the ban:
“These alleged submissions formed part of 70,000 public submissions made to government at the time. In this briefing, the minister said: ‘Even in the public comments, there was quite a lot of opposition. More than 2,000 people opposed it.’
"She went on to say that government took that into consideration, debated the matter, looked at it, and decided that we must continue as we are when it comes to cigarettes, tobacco and related products and that we should not open up the sale of these products."
However, court documents have now revealed the true extent of the submissions made after the minister submitted the papers to the Fair-Trade Independent Tobacco Association:
“According to Fita, the applicants in the case, there weren’t more than 2,000 submissions attached as evidence. Instead, there were only 1,535 submissions and of these, 47.2% had nothing to do with cigarettes or smoking, 23.3% were in favour of smoking and only 29.6% supported the ban, which amounts to just 454 submissions."
Steenhuisen went on to claim that the minister was “clearly” lying to South Africans in order to further her own pre-determined agenda.
This, in the opposition leader's view, qualified her as a liar seeking to further her own agenda and Ramaphosa should take action:
“If the president wants to salvage some credibility for government’s response to this crisis, he cannot allow her to evade accountability on this."
Briefly.co.za reported that President Cyril Ramaphosa himself had committed to lifting the ban during lower levels of the current Covid-19 lockdown.
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