Cigarette exports allowed so focus is on setting aside ban on local sales

12 May 2020 - 14:19 By ERNEST MABUZA
The Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association (Fita) has won permission to export tobacco products but will go to court to fight the ban on local sales.
The Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association (Fita) has won permission to export tobacco products but will go to court to fight the ban on local sales.
Image: 123rf.com/marcbruxelle

No definite date has been set for a court application to challenge the ban on the sale of cigarettes to be heard.

The first part of a two-part application by the Fair-trade Independent Tobacco Association (Fita), which was set to be heard in the high court in Pretoria on Tuesday, will no longer be heard because the organisation has obtained the relief it had sought.

Last week, Fita lodged a court application and divided it into two parts.

The first portion of the application, Part A, which was due to be heard on Tuesday, was for an order declaring that tobacco products fall into the category of agro-processing and constituted permitted goods, and that their export is permitted.

The second part, tentatively set for May 26, was for an order setting aside regulations passed in March prohibiting cigarette sales.

In a statement on Monday night, Fita said following an exchange of correspondence between the association and government, it emerged that tobacco products constituted manufacturing products permitted for export in terms of the Covid-19 regulations.

Fita said it also emerged that the manufacture of tobacco products was permitted, up to 30% employment, in terms of the regulations, and that all manufacturing and transport of tobacco products will need to be performed under strict adherence to health protocols.

Fita said these developments meant "there no longer exists a reason for us to argue Part A of our court application as we have been provided with a substantial portion of the the relief sought from the courts".

Fita said it will now turn its focus to the relief sought in Part B of its application.

It said legal representatives for government and Fita were working on a timetable to have Part B of the court application heard as soon as reasonably possible.

"Clarity on this will be given in due course," Fita said, adding that a large number of documents needed to be exchanged before the matter can be argued before court.


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