Citizen reporter
1 minute read
6 May 2020
10:06 am

Batsa withdraws legal threat against cigarette ban

Citizen reporter

The company controls almost 80% of the local cigarette market and has been vocal about the effects of illegal sales on the economy.

Picture: iStock

British American Tobacco South Africa (Batsa) has said it has decided not to pursue legal action against the government over the ban on cigarette sales.

“We have taken the decision not to pursue legal action at this stage but, instead, to pursue further discussions with government on the formulation and application of the regulations under the Covid-19 lockdown,” it said in a statement, according to Fin24.

Batsa had earlier described the government’s ban as “bizarre and irregular”.

Batsa believes “illicit traders are the only beneficiaries of the ban on tobacco sales”.

The company has now indicated it wishes to find a practical solution to the ban on sales, and help curb the illegal market that has emerged.

“Whilst Batsa supports the government in its mission to prevent the further spread of the virus, we believe it is vital that there is a renewed and stronger effort under level 4 to permanently close down the illegal supply lines of tobacco that have been established over the past number of weeks. Reopening the legal, taxed and regulated tobacco market must be part of the solution,” the company said.

The ban on the sale of cigarette and tobacco products was established on March 26 when the nationwide lockdown commenced.

The prohibition continued under level 4 of the lockdown, which has been in place since the start of May.

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