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'It is going to save my pocket & I don’t feel like a criminal any more': A happy smoker

18 August 2020 - 09:27 By Iavan Pijoos
“I’m a happy man,” says Johannnesburg's Charles Keylock, who bought nine boxes of his favourite brand - Camel Black.
“I’m a happy man,” says Johannnesburg's Charles Keylock, who bought nine boxes of his favourite brand - Camel Black.
Image: Iavan Pijoos/TimesLIVE

“At the rate that we are currently going, our cigarette stock won’t last us till 9am,” a manager at a Spar in Honeydew said on Tuesday morning, the first day of the resumption of cigarettes sales on day 144 of the Covid-19 lockdown.

The manager, who asked not to be named, said since 7am more than the usual shoppers have been flocking to the store.

“Look around, you see all these people that are coming in, they are all just coming for cigarettes.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on August 15 2020 that South Africa will be moving to lockdown alert level 2 from Tuesday August 18. Co-operative governance minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma expanded on the new regulations on August 17, announcing many restrictions will be lifted, including bans on alcohol and tobacco sales. Here's all you need to know about what's allowed and what's not during lockdown level 2.

“We aren’t usually this full so early in the morning. We also had an influx of phone calls of people asking if we have certain brands in stock."

He said the store didn’t have time to fully stock up on cigarettes, now and when the initial ban was implemented five months ago.

“Prior to the initial ban, people came in and bought cartons of cigarettes and didn’t even care which brand it was.

“We only have our cigarettes of five months ago. We also have a massive out-of-stock report on cigarettes, so I am concerned... We are getting our stock today [but] it doesn’t seem like we are going to get a lot of cigarettes.”

Today people are happy, so we are also happy
Car guard

This is due to the limited notice given to suppliers to deliver stock, following the adjusted regulations allowing the sale of legal tobacco products.

Several customers were seen exiting the store with a minimum of three carton of cigarettes in their hands.

They were greeted with chants of “Happy, happy!” from the security guards clad in their trademark reflector jackets.

One customer, Charles Keylock, bought nine boxes of his favourite brand — Camel Black.

“Well, that’s all they had in stock of my brand so I bought them all,” he said with a huge smile on his face.

Keylock said during lockdown he smoked Sharp and paid R70 per box and still had to pay extra for someone to fetch the cigarettes for him [a delivery charge].

“I’m glad that the cigarettes are back because it is going to save my pocket big time. Now I don’t feel like a criminal any more.

“The Sharp cigarettes were rough on the chest and health, so I am happy to be back to my normal cigarettes.”

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Moses Sebati said he was “extremely relieved” to be able to buy cigarettes on Tuesday morning. Sebati bought a few boxes of Camel Red cigarettes.

“Eish, during lockdown we were smoking anything and everything. I can’t even tell you that I smoked a specific brand.

“Some of them were good but others felt like they weren’t even a cigarette, they were heavy on the chest.”

A local car guard said they had also seen an influx of cars at the shopping centre.

“Today people are happy to drink alcohol and buy beers, so we are also happy.”