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Government To Provide Reasons For Maintaining Cigarette Sales Ban

Government has agreed to provide reasons for maintaining the ban on tobacco product sales under level 4 of the lockdown.

The Fair-Trade Independent Tobacco Association (FITA) launched an urgent court bid for government to lift the ban and declare these products essential goods.

They also wanted minutes of the meetings in which the decision about the sale of cigarettes was made.

Following government’s concession, FITA now said there was no need to argue this part of the application but it would still head to court in three weeks for the second leg of its application to urge government to lift the ban completely.

The association’s Sinenhlanhla Mnguni said: “The state, or rather the respondents, have agreed in regards to granting a substantial portion of part A of our court application, which is they have permitted us and our members and the tobacco industry at large to be able to manufacture and export tobacco products and cigarettes. Now, they have also agreed to grant and give us the decision, which was made in relation to the promulgation of Section 27.”

The ban on cigarette sales was implemented at the start of the lockdown almost seven weeks ago.

Last month, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the ban would be lifted as the country moved to level four of the lockdown.

But just days later, government backtracked and said the ban would remain in the interests of health and after receiving over 2,000 submissions from the public objecting to the sale of cigarettes.