- BATSA has revealed that they have started accepting "holding orders" from customers
- The tobacco organisation, however, said they cannot confirm when the cigarette ban will be lifted in South Africa
- An online petition to have the ban lifted has gained nearly half a million signatures
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The tobacco ban battle continues to play out and this time it is an online petition that has gained the upper hand.
Last week, cigarette manufacturing company British American Tobacco South Africa (BATSA) filed papers in the Western Cape High Court challenging the ongoing ban on tobacco sales.
The organisation hoped their case would be heard this week. However, they were dealt a blow when lawyers for BATSA and Japan Tobacco International (JTI) were informed that the Western Cape High Court would not hear their case this week as they had originally requested.
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BATSA and JTI lawyers were told the matter was set to be heard in August but has "been brought forward, hopefully to the 30th of June", said IOL.
In the meantime, an online petition to unban tobacco sales is gaining momentum and the moved up date could be as a result of this. Bev Maclean is the Gauteng woman who has been campaigning relentlessly for the ban to be lifted.
Maclean, whose online petition calling on President Cyril Ramaphosa to lift the ban has garnered nearly 500 000 signatures, said she has faith in the judicial system and is confident of a positive outcome despite the delays.
"I have created a poll and this poll is going to be sent to the Judges Mlambo, Basson and Molefe who are still deciding if FITA has won their court case. We, the smokers and smoker friends, want a decision, we are tired of waiting any longer. I want to send the results by Monday, 29 June."
The South African reported that Tax Justice SA estimates that R35 million per day is being lost to these illegal cigarette sales, costing the economy about R3 billion in lost revenue so far.
Business Insider reported that on Thursday, a spokesperson for BATSA said that the company has started accepting “holding orders” from its customers. However, the representative didn’t confirm a date for when he believed the tobacco ban would be lifted in South Africa.
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