- The ban on tobacco will remain in force, as the high court dismissed an application submitted by the Fair-Trade Independent Tobacco Association
- Fita applied to have the ban overturn on the basis that nicotine is addictive and therefore essential
- The ruling vindicated Minister Dlamini-Zuma and the court sided with her sentiments on numerous counts
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Previously, Briefly.co.za reported that the long-awaited battle over the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions is well underway on Wednesday.
The Fair-Trade Independent Tobacco Association and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma are facing off over the prohibition.
The group insists that the government entered into the restriction without sound expert advice.
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However, it is the minister and government who have come out tops in the tug-of-war, as the high court dismissed Fita's application.
The three judges hearing the case deemed that although nicotine is addictive, it is still not essential.
Their 39-page judgement stated: “Fita’s argument that cigarettes ought to have been considered 'essential' because they are addictive has no merit. The fact that a substance is addictive does not render it essential. We therefore find no basis on which to interpret the level 5 regulations as permitting the sale of tobacco products.”
It continued, “Tobacco products did not fall within the ambit of 'essential goods' and their sale was prohibited. Tobacco products are plainly not food, cleaning and hygiene products, fuel and clearly not medical products. They would constitute 'essential goods' only if they could be considered ‘basic goods’ akin to airtime and electricity."
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TimesLIVE reported that the ruling also vindicated Dlamini-Zuma on many counts and it deemed the decision to ban tobacco as a rational one.
The judges view was that the minister's decision was made to protect human life and to minimise the strain on the public healthcare system.
The final verdict was then confirmed in the ruling: "The application by Fair-Trade Independent Tobacco Association is dismissed with costs, such costs to include the costs of three counsel,” the judgment concludes."
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