The Black Tobacco Farmers Association (BTFA) has expressed disappointment at government’s move to stand by its decision on the ban of cigarette sales as the country prepares to move to level three lockdown next week.
The organisation claimed that farms were “dying” and so were their livelihoods, complaining that government did not consider the views of many who supported the sale of tobacco products.
BTFA said it was concerned about the 11 million South African smokers who had relied on illicit tobacco during the lockdown.
The association said that government was turning a blind eye to the illicit tobacco market, allowing criminals to flourish while they have been in “hell” since the regulations came into effect.
The group described government’s multi-sector consultations ahead of the level downgrade as a “smokescreen”, that saying Cabinet had already decided on extending the sale ban.
Meanwhile, the Fair-Trade Independent Tobacco Association’s legal challenge against government is due to be heard in court soon.
The body has challenged the constitutionality of government’s decision to ban the sale of tobacco products during the lockdown.