The government has accused the Fair-Trade Independent Tobacco Association (Fita) of pursuing the tobacco products ban on sales mainly to protect their monetary gains.
This has formed part of the government’s reasoning against the association’s leave to appeal an adverse ruling by the Pretoria High Court.
The industry and the country have lost out on billions of rand in revenue since the sales ban was effected at the start of the national lockdown in March.
Advocate Marumo Moerane told the full bench of the court that the legal challenge was not in the public’s interest as asserted by the association in its legal bid.
While the organisation cited the economic impact as part of its argument on why the decision should be reversed it also cited, as equally important, the legal ramifications of the issue, saying that the sales ban failed the rationality test.
Moerane said that this would not pass at the Supreme Court of Appeal where Fita hoped that its challenge would be treated favourably.
“The grounds of appeal lack reasonable prospects of success, and we submit that there exists no compelling reason this appeal should be heard and that the application should, therefore, be dismissed with cost.”
Judge President Dunstan Mblambo said judgement in the matter will be delivered next week.