Minister in the presidency Jackson Mthembu has indicated to South Africa’s smokers that their favourite fix will likely return at Level 2 of the lockdown.
Speaking to EWN, he said he did not see the ban continuing past Level 3.
“The ban on cigarettes, it’s just at this level we are in. We don’t know how many weeks we will be at this level. I can assure you after we’ve been out of Level 3, I don’t see the ban on the sale of cigarettes continuing,” Mthembu said.
He said government in due course would be consulting with members of the public on this matter and other issues.
“Those representations will not apply for level 3 because indeed the president has given us all marching orders as it relates to Level 2,” he said.
In an affidavit before court this week, it seems the government believes smokers are more at risk than others of catching severe Covid-19. They’ve cited a number of overseas studies that indicate this is the case.
Although these studies, it seems, have been disputed by others.
Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has also indicated the lockdown ban may encourage many smokers to quit for good.