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Government Pleads With Court To Revert Cigarette Sale Ban Matter Back To Dlamini-Zuma

Government lawyers have on Wednesday pleaded with the Pretoria High Court to refer the matter regarding the prohibition of tobacco products sales back to the Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma for reconsideration, should it find that regulations 27 and 45 were unlawful or invalid.

The court has heard arguments from legal representatives of the minister and those of the Fair-Trade Independent Tobacco Association (Fita), which is seeking to have the regulations governing the sale ban set aside.

Judgment has been reserved in the matter.

Arguing for Dlamini-Zuma, advocate Marumo Moerane told the full bench of the court that the appropriate and just remedy in the matter would be to give the minister directives on information and factors to be reconsidered, instead of issuing a declaratory order.

“That would serve to ensure that should the ban, on further reconciliation be deemed necessary, the public health gains for the last few months would not be undone.”

Moerane insisted that the minister acted within her powers and those of the executive when the decision had to be made “swiftly” to avoid overburdening the health system.

However, Arnold Subel for Fita dismissed the request for reconsideration saying they knew the factors the minister relied on, saying such should only be allowed if evidence or circumstances change.

He said there should be no further delays in the matter, adding that the court would be justified in making a declaratory relief sought in their motion.

The sale of tobacco products has been banned since the national lockdown was enforced.