Court gives govt till Friday 5pm to respond on tobacco ban

Picture: iStock

British American Tobacco had announced last week their decision to take the legal route against the ban.

The British American Tobacco South Africa (Batsa) filed a legal application against the government over the ban on cigarette sales at the Cape Town High Court.

According to media reports, the government has been given time until 5pm on Friday to respond to the legal challenge on the ban.

Last week, Batsa announced that it had decided to pursue legal action against the government over the ban after President Cyril Ramaphosa said in a media briefing that the ban will continue under alert level 3 while alcohol sales is allowed.

The company had withdrew their initial decision to go ahead with legal proceedings after it indicated that it wished to find a practical solution to the ban on sales, and help curb the illegal market that had emerged earlier in May.

It explained last Friday that the decision to take legal action was supported by Japan Tobacco International as well as “groups and organisations representing the tobacco value chain across the country, including consumers, tobacco farmers and retailers”.

“Batsa has made every effort to constructively engage with the government since the ban came into force, including making detailed submissions, along with other interested parties, to various ministers, as well as directly to the presidency,” it said.

“To date, no formal response has been received from the government, and Batsa has also not been included in any of the government’s consultation processes so far,” the company added.

Meanwhile, the Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association (Fita) also launched an urgent application challenging government’s controversial ban on tobacco sales during the national lockdown.

It was reported that Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma had argued against the lifting of the ban on the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products during the meeting of the national coronavirus command council (NCCC), producing research to back up her argument.

(Compiled by Molefe Seeletsa)

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