Lift cigarette ban or we go to court: AfriForum

27 May 2020 - 18:27 By Kgaugelo Masweneng
AfriForum will take the government to court if it does not unban the sale of tobacco products by June, its lawyers have warned.
AfriForum will take the government to court if it does not unban the sale of tobacco products by June, its lawyers have warned.
Image: supplied

AfriForum has written to the ministry of cooperative governance and traditional affairs, warning that it will go to court if the government doesn't lift the lockdown ban on the sale of tobacco.

The organisation's letter - sent via its lawyers - challenges the rationality of the continued ban and prohibition on the sale of tobacco, tobacco products, e-cigarettes, and related products.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Sunday that the prohibition on tobacco products will continue during level three of lockdown.

“Scant reasons have been forthcoming from government regarding the reasons, underlying data and supporting expert opinions that government has relied upon to still prohibit the sale of tobacco, tobacco products, e-cigarettes and related products,” said Daniël Eloff, lawyer at Hurter Spies, which is representing AfriForum.

“Moreover, government has failed to provide rational, substantiated reasons for its decision to continue the prohibition on the above tobacco items, while it has admitted and conceded that the sale, dispensing or transportation of liquor is able to continue under alert level 3.”

AfriForum believes that the continued prohibition of tobacco products is irrational, unconstitutional and unlawful, based on the reasons and considerations that the government has considered and its consequent conclusion to continue the prohibition of tobacco products.

They are demanding that the ban is lifted by June.

“Should our client not receive a positive reaction by close of business [on] June 1, it will be left with no other choice than to seek legal recourse to protect the interest of the public and to ensure transparency and rational decision making within the South African executive,” said Eloff.


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