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Government Concerned By Claim That It Delayed Court Hearing

The government said that it had noted with concern media statements attributed to British American Tobacco South Africa (Batsa) that the state has caused a delay in the court hearing challenging the ban on the sale of tobacco products.

Batsa said that it had received an email on Friday stating that the matter had been delayed by almost six weeks.

It said that they had an agreement with government that the matter should be heard heard next week Tuesday on an urgent basis.

However, in a statement, government has written a timeline of what led to the case being pushed to another new date.

Government has replied to Batsa’s latest claims, saying that a new date for the matter was issued by the office of the Judge President directing that it should be heard after 4 August.

Batsa has described the move as the delaying of justice, saying that by the time the case is heard in August, billions of illegal cigarettes would have been sold.

The tobacco giant wants the Western Cape High Court to set aside and declare invalid the Disaster Management Act on the ban on the sale of tobacco products.

It said that the regulation was unconstitutional because it violated a series of fundamental rights.

This comes a day after the High Court in Pretoria dismissed an application by the Fair-Trade Independent Tobacco Association (Fita) in it’s bid to declare the banning of tobacco products sales as essential.