- The Japan Tobacco International group has joined the legal battle to compel the government into rethinking its ban
- The group has joined forces with British American Tobacco South Africa and numerous other entities
-This is despite President Cyril Ramaphosa promising that the ban would be lifted at lower lockdown levels
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Yet another big contender has entered the battle against the government over the continued ban on tobacco sales.
Japan Tobacco International has teamed up with British American Tobacco South Africa and together the nations largest manufacturers will be seeking to legally strong-arming the government into lifting the prohibition on the sale of tobacco products.
The Citizen reports that Bongani Mshibe, Director of Corporate Affairs, has commented that:
“The legal tobacco industry has attempted to consult with the Government, including making submissions as to how the sale and distribution of tobacco products can take place without impacting the spread of Covid-19 during any lockdown level. These attempts to consult and numerous submissions have not been taken into consideration."
READ ALSO: Ramaphosa asks smokers to be patient: Ban will lift at lower levels
Mshibe also noted that there remains no concrete data to either support or deny the risks of smoking during the pandemic, continuing that:
“There is however abundant evidence that despite the ban, consumers are continuing to smoke and find alternatives in illegal cigarettes, effectively criminalising SA’s smokers. There has been massive growth in illicit tobacco sales since lockdown. The risks are clear and evident, with consumers having to travel to find illegal products and being forced to share cigarettes. This has opened a door that will not easily be shut.”
While most countries have implemented lockdowns in a bid to limit the spread of the virus, South Africa is one of only two that have opted to take this route, with India opting to overturn the restriction.
Briefly.co.za reported that the Democratic Alliance had called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to fire Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, claiming that the politician had lied in favour of inflating support for the prohibition.
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