Ramaphosa promises to clear the air on lockdown cigarette sales

03 April 2020 - 13:10 By Tanya Farber
The official word on cigarette sales during the lockdown will come after a meeting of the President's Co-ordinating Council on Saturday April 4 2020.
The official word on cigarette sales during the lockdown will come after a meeting of the President's Co-ordinating Council on Saturday April 4 2020.
Image: 123RF/GINA SANDERS

Confusion over cigarette sales during the Covid-19 lockdown should end on Saturday.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has called an urgent meeting of the President’s Co-ordinating Council to clarify regulations.

This follows an announcement by Western Cape premier Alan Winde that cigarettes could be sold to customers who also bought essential items such as food.

On Friday, Winde said he had called Ramaphosa “to make clear our concerns relating to the proper interpretation of the regulations, which are at times vague”.

He said the Western Cape government “does not have the power to change regulations” and this had been reported on incorrectly.

As of March 26, the lives of many South Africans will be fundamentally changed. This is after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a nationwide lockdown. This step - which the president said was drastic but necessary - will see millions of South Africans restricted to their homes and many services being unavailable.Here's all you need to know about who is exempt from the lockdown and which businesses will stay open.

“We know that the regulations were created for this reason. And any clarifications or updates to them ... need to be done with that ultimate aim in mind — to continue keeping us all safe,” he said.

Winde acknowledged the importance of regulations and said he had sent a list of questions to Ramaphosa. The cigarette issue had grabbed the spotlight but was one of many questions.

For example, “Can you buy a data dongle so you can access e-learning resources? Can learners buy notebooks and pens to study? This is so important for our learners right now who need an education while our schools are closed.”

The police head of lockdown enforcement in the Western Cape, Maj-Gen Andre Lincoln, said on Friday officers would act against people selling or buying cigarettes.

“Cigarettes are not listed as an essential product, so cigarettes can’t be sold,” he said on CapeTalk.

On March 26 2020, is the start of a new period of uncertainty as South Africans adapt to life under a nationwide lockdown in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Here are some of the answers to your 'leaving home' questions.


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