FITA confident case was strong enough to overturn tobacco ban

FITA confident case was strong enough to overturn tobacco ban

- The Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association is convinced that it has done enough to sway the court

- The North Gauteng High Court is currently mulling over the contested cigarette ban in SA

- But the entity is sure that it has put forward a strong enough case to turn the tide in its favour

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The Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association feels confident that it has convinced the North Gauteng High Court to overturn the tobacco ban. reported that the group had opted to challenge the prohibition imposed amid the Covid-19 lockdown.

While there is no set date as to when judgment will be handed down, chairperson Sinenhlanhla Mnguni is optimistic:

“Without trying to pre-empt the outcome of the court proceedings of June 10, we are very confident of a favourable outcome, particularly following the strong case we put forward in court when oral arguments were heard by the full bench of the High Court."

READ ALSO: FITA lays charges after receiving threatening calls over tobacco ban

Smokers are impatient to hear when they will finally be allowed to purchase tobacco again, but Mnguni says the matter is being treated as urgent:

“When the judges comprising the full bench reserved judgment in this matter, they stated that they are aware that the matter is urgent in nature and they would, therefore, expedite the process of finalising the judgment. No fixed date was given in this regard. However, consideration needs to be given to inter alia the fact that the record in this matter is voluminous.”

Mnguni pointed out that powerful political figures have voiced their displeasure over the financial impact of this restriction:

“Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni and Sars commissioner Edward Kieswetter have both come out saying they are not in support of the ban. The country is losing billions which it desperately needs as a result of the ban. The livelihoods of the thousands who are employed across the value chain are at stake as a result of the ban."

Another cause or concern has been the police resources put into fighting what many feel is a trivial restriction:

“Valuable resources are also being used to police ordinarily law abiding citizens who have now been reduced to criminals as a result of the ban, with an abnormally high percentage of cases currently in the criminal justice system currently related to the illegal sale of cigarettes.”

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