BATSA takes government to court over "unconstitutional" tobacco ban

BATSA takes government to court over "unconstitutional" tobacco ban

- Tobacco giant BATSA is taking the government to court over the ban on tobacco sales

- BATSA said they are hoping the matter will be heard by next Monday

- In their papers, they have included an affidavit from Dr Chris Proctor

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Cigarette manufacturing company British American Tobacco South Africa (BATSA) has filed papers in the Western Cape High Court challenging the ongoing ban on tobacco sales.

In yet another court battle on the ban of tobacco sales, BATSA filed a joint application with some tobacco farmers and a tobacco consumers' group.

The tobacco company is hoping that their matter will be heard in court by next Monday, reported Timeslive.

Tax Justice SA has also been very vocal about the ban, claiming that it promotes illegal smoking:

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In its papers filed on 31 May, BATSA said it wanted the court to set aside and declare invalid regulation 45 of the Disaster Management Act which bans tobacco products except for export.

BATSA said this regulation was unconstitutional because “it violates a series of fundamental rights".

The ban on tobacco sales has been a contentious battle for some time.

Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has been at the centre of the tobacco ban and has maintained an unwavering stance, reportedly

The Fair-Trade Independent Tobacco Association (FITA) and Dlamini-Zuma were in court last week Wednesday over the controversial tobacco ban. Judgment on the case has been reserved.

The Herald reported that a few days ago, messages were circulated on WhatsApp claiming that the Pretoria High Court had made a ruling on the matter, FITA issued a statement that this was untrue.

Among its arguments, BATSA said that banning the sale of tobacco contradicted Section 22 of the Constitution, which provides for freedom of trade, occupation and profession.

BATSA included affidavits of smokers as well as of medical doctor Chris Proctor, who explained the physical harm that smokers were subjected to as a result of the ban.

Proctor said tobacco and vaping products are in many respects similar to coffee in the ways they are experienced and used by consumers. He added that denying user access to tobacco could have a detrimental effect.

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