Ekurhuleni Mayor Mzwandile Masina on Monday started a petition in support of government’s decision to uphold the ban on cigarette sales.
The country has been divided over the contentious issue with some criticising the chairperson of government’s National Command Council (NCC) Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
The minister announced last week that a collective decision was made by the NCC that South Africans would still not be allowed to buy cigarettes.
About 350,000 people signed a petition calling for government to lift that ban.
Masina said he was aiming for one million signatures to counter those who are calling for the ban on the sale of cigarettes to be abandoned.
We have reached 15000 signatures in just a day and half, we are moving speedily towards 1 million signatures! We will not be bullied by racists and lobby groups. Play your part and sign the petition by visiting: https://t.co/8iwFS2tgFf. We will never put profit before the people! pic.twitter.com/f9AZW12eVJ— Mzwandile Masina (@mzwandileMasina) May 4, 2020
There was a legal bid by some in the tobacco industry arguing that the sector is a major contributor the country’s revenue and the restriction would have a dire effect on the economy.
However, Masina said those who were lobbying for the lifting of the ban were undermining government’s work.
“I’ve seen that lots of lobby organisations are using racial undertones to try and undermine the decision of the NCC to an extent of making it the decision of the minister,” Masina said.
About 2,000 South Africans had expressed dissatisfaction over government’s decision to continue selling cigarettes.