- Sturks Tobacco Shop in Cape Town, one of South Africa's oldest businesses, has had to close its doors to the ban on tobacco sales
- The business, which was opened in 1793 and has been around for 226 years, has never closed until now
- The owner, Diane Chakim, has expressed her frustrations with the government over the continued ban on tobacco sales
A cigarette company that has stood the test of time and weathered all storms has finally met its match in the Covid-19 virus. The store had to be closed after 226 years in operation.
Sturks Tobacco Shop, which first opened its doors in Shortmarket Street, Cape Town August 1793, has buckled under the Covid-19 economic distress pressure. Since it opened, the shop has never closed until now. The shop is one of the oldest businesses in South Africa.
Diane Chakim, the owner of the shop, says the ban on tobacco sales has taken its toll on the shop and she did not think the ban would last this long. Chakim said:
Chakim also alluded to the fact that smoking trends have changed and people are opting for things such as vapes for healthier smoking. The ban on tobacco in South Africa has been a contentious issue, with various organisations in the process of a legal battle with the government.! … People will pay anything… it’s evil.s"
Chakim also alluded to the fact that smoking trends have changed and people are opting for things such as vape for healthier smoking. The ban on tobacco in South Africa has been a contentious issue,with various organisations in the process of a legal battle with the government.
Briefly.co.za reported that South Africa is losing over R1 billion in excise duties because of the illegal sale of cigarettes on the black market.
Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and President Cyril Ramaphosa are due in court over the tobacco ban.
On 1 June, South Africa moved to lockdown Level 3, which allows the sale of alcohol but not cigarettes. Smokers and tobacco businesses are infuriated by this. Chakim said:
"The queue at liquor stores, no social distancing. It just doesn’t make sense! It’s ruining lives"
Chakim, who said she herself is no longer is a smoker, is frustrated because the decision of the tobacco ban is mind-boggling. Chakim has also questioned the correlation between smoking and Covid-19. This the argument that has been made by cigarette bodies arguing that there is no evidence of smokers being more vulnerable to the virus.
Chakim says she hope they will open their doors in the near future, as people of the town have a connection to the long-standing shop.
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