- Dlamini Zuma has submitted court papers arguing that the economic fallout from the tobacco ban will be offset by illegal cigarette sales
- This was one of her many arguments that formed part of her 500-page affidavit
- Her main reason for the ban remains the same, to reduce the impact of Covid-19 on the healthcare system
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Dlamini Zuma's court documents argue that illegal cigarette sales will actually reduce the economic fallout from the cigarette ban instituted during lockdown.
The government has been taken to court by British American Tobacco South Africa, and other tobacco groupings in order to have the tobacco ban overturned.
Dlamini Zuma's affidavit is 500 pages long and includes a large number of facts, statistics, analytics and opinions. The ban has been criticised for doing more harm than good through the loss of jobs and not being an effective tool to reduce the number of people smoking.
Her main argument is that a temporary ban will help reduce the impact of Covid-19 on the population which is supported by emerging research.
This is a separate case to the one launched by the Free Trade Independent Tobacco Association according to News24.
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Her argument also states that the economic harm incurred by the ban on tobacco sales will be offset to a degree through informal trading of illegal cigarettes.
Citing a study by Genesis Analytics, she states: "(A)n ironic feature of the impact of the ban is that to the extent illicit trade in cigarettes grows, the adverse economic impact of the ban will be reduced."
She believes that once the ban is lifted, illegal cigarette sales will drop as customers return to buying legal cigarettes.
"It is also likely that a significant portion of the market will move back to purchasing cigarettes legally once the ban is lifted".
Dlamini Zuma also believes that the ban has reduced the number of active smokers in the population.
Paragraph 159 of the affidavit reads: "On the assumption that the current ban on cigarette sales continues for a full year, the result will be an overall annual decrease in sales of about none billion cigarettes, i.e. from 26 billion down to 17 billion."
Her closing arguments in her affidavit returns to the argument that the ban was helpful in allowing health services to cope with Covid-19.
"I reiterate the ban is not a permanent measure. It will be lifted as soon as this can safely be done, having regard for the state of the Covid-19 pandemic in our country, the capacity of our healthy systems to cope with severe Covid-19 infections requiring hospitalisation, and high care, intensive care and ventilation in our hospitals, and the risk posed by smokers of severe Covid-19 disease."
In other news, Briefly.co.za reported that the Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association feels confident that it has convinced the North Gauteng High Court to overturn the tobacco ban.
Briefly.co.za 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."
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