Illicit cigarette seller says business was good while it lasted

18 August 2020 - 11:20 By Naledi Shange
At this hawker's stall in Roodepoort, cigarettes are now on display again and the price for a loose smoke has dropped from R5 to R3.
At this hawker's stall in Roodepoort, cigarettes are now on display again and the price for a loose smoke has dropped from R5 to R3.
Image: Naledi Shange/TimesLIVE

Not everyone  is celebrating the reopening of cigarettes sales.

Sabelo Radebe* said for him it means the end of a thriving business selling loose cigarettes for ballooned prices.

“I was selling loose cigarettes for R5 each and it was going well,” he told TimesLIVE.

“I was going through a few boxes every day, but now things will definitely slow down. It hasn't been that busy this morning,” he said.

He was back to charging R3.

Sabelo's stall is positioned on Hendrick Potgieter Road in Roodepoort, where taxi drivers and pedestrians are his biggest customers.

He also sells sweets, fruit and cold drinks which he keeps chilled in a bucket filled with ice.

“I did stock up on cigarettes at Makro this morning because you must ensure you're prepared,” he said.

Asked whether he feared being arrested for selling cigarettes during the lockdown, Sabelo said he was not worried.

“You don't put your cigarettes out in the open. I only took them out when someone wanted to buy. Besides, cops also needed to smoke,” he said with a chuckle.

*Not his real name

TimesLIVE


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