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As Judgment Reserved, FITA Wants Tobacco Matter To Be Referred To SCA

 Judgment has been reserved in the matter between the Fair-Trade Independent Tobacco Association (Fita) and Cooperative Governance Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma with regards to the sale of tobacco products.

Fita on Wednesday appealed to the Pretoria High Court to refer its legal challenge against the cigarette ban to the Supreme Court of Appeal.

Advocate Arnold Subel, representing Fita, argued during the virtual court sitting on Wednesday morning that it was in the best interest of the public and of the law to have the conclusion of the lower court tested elsewhere.

The High Court ruled last month that Fita’s application, which was based on the fact that the products were necessary and essential goods, did not hold ground, dismissing the matter.

Subel said that the court was lenient with Cooperative Governance Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma in line with the National Disaster Management Act.

“The test that was adopted by this court is far too benevolent in favour of the regulation and we submit with respect that it is a matter that there could be reasonable prospects that there would be a different approach to it.”

Meanwhile, Minister Dlamini-Zuma’s Advocate Marumo Moerane maintained that the court was right in its finding against Fita’s application.

He added that the matters raised had no prospects of success in any other court.

“Even if the applicant were to persuade an appeal court that there had been an ex post facto attempt to justify Regulation 27 and that this somehow renders Regulation 27 irrational, this would not affect Regulation 45.”