The case by the Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association (Fita) is being heard by the Pretoria High Court against the ban on the sale of cigarettes under level three lockdown.
Fita is requesting that Regulation 27 of the Disaster Management Act be declared irrational and illegal, arguing that it infringes on the rights of smokers.
Government is opposing the application, saying there is evidence suggesting that smoking leads to more severe cases of COVID-19.
Smokers around the country have criticised government for continuing with its ban on the sale of cigarettes in the country.
Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Minister, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and President Cyril Ramaphosa are respondents in the matter.
In the video below, government announces that the ban on the sale of cigarettes remain:
Advocate Arnold Subel is arguing on behalf of Fita.
“At least the person who regulates and prohibits is expected to provide some rational basis to this very far-reaching issue, what we say is, a draconian measure. We submit with respect that the second respondent has failed dismally to address it.”
“There are a number of very concerning features in her approach in this matter. Going to Section 27, that is what we submit – there isn’t enough sufficient [evidence] to address this problem of the harmful effects of smoking and tobacco products,” explains Subel.
Informal trade losing money due to ban on the sale of cigarettes: Saita
Meanwhile, in May this year, the South African Informal Traders Alliance (Saita) said the ban on the sale of cigarettes only led to the informal trade losing their much-needed income.
The alliance has pleaded with government to urgently lift the ban on the sale of cigarettes.
The alliance is the national voice of informal traders, hawkers, spaza shop owners and home-based operators working across all the nine provinces in South Africa.
Its president, Rosheda Muller, says the ban forces law-abiding citizens to do business with criminals.
“The ban is not stopping people from smoking, but instead of buying cigarettes from their usual informal traders they are now buying illicit products from criminals. When our President [Cyril Ramaphosa] asked us to go into lockdown eight weeks ago, we listened, despite knowing the devastating impact it would have on our lives and livelihoods.
Click on the video below to watch the live stream of court proceedings:
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