The Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association (Fita) says it’s relieved that tobacco products including cigarettes will again go on sale from Tuesday.
Alcohol sales will also be permitted under level two of the lockdown but under certain conditions.
The tobacco association says even though the ban has been lifted, the industry has suffered huge losses in revenue and jobs.
Fita Chairperson Sinenhlanhla Mnguni says they hope their suppliers will be able to meet the high demand for cigarettes from midnight after five months of not selling them.
Mnguni says, “Look it’s going to be a challenge, the announcement by the President only came on Saturday evening, so logistically to prepare for something of this nature is going to require massive effort. I think our members will do their utmost best to ensure that all their suppliers are adequately supplied, but again it is going to be a challenge with the late timing of the President’s announcement prior to us going ahead back into the market.
SA COVID-19 alert Level 2 lockdown: Alcohol, tobacco ban lifted and interprovincial travel open
Mixed reactions among political parties over easing of lockdown restrictions
The African National Congress (ANC) has commended South Africans for their contribution in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. This as the country prepares to move into Level 2 of the coronavirus lockdown, which will commence from Monday at midnight.
ANC Spokesperson Pule Mabe says it now up to South Africans to continue to adhere to all lockdown regulations.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) says there is no need for the National State of Disaster to be extended now that the country will be moving to alert Level 2 of the coronavirus lockdown.
The party has been long calling for an immediate end of the nationwide lockdown in favour of saving the country’s ailing economy. DA interim leader John Steenhuisen says the 10pm curfew will also be a challenge to some sectors especially the hospitality and tourism industry.
The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has rejected the easing of the lockdown restrictions, saying the decision to ease the restrictions was based on manipulated data and under-testing of the coronavirus.
EFF spokesperson Vuyani Pambo says the lifting of the ban on alcohol and tobacco will be counterproductive.
Meanwhile, the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) says it welcomes, with caution, the easing of lockdown restrictions. IFP spokesperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa says the lifting of the alcohol ban may bring negative results in the fight against pandemic if there are no efforts to address behavioural changes.
The African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) is concerned about the curfew set under alert Level 2 of the lockdown. ACDP leader Reverend Kenneth Meshoe says it will have a negative impact on businesses that close shop late in the night.
However, the Freedom Front Plus says the decision to move the country to level two lockdown is a little too late since the economy has already been severely damaged. FFPlus leader Pieter Groenewald says the country could have moved to Level 2 much earlier, which could have saved some jobs and prevent the government from losing revenue. He says the move by government came as a result of public pressure and mounting court cases.
The United Democratic Movement (UDM) has urged government to approach matters of national disaster with flexibility in the future to avoid unnecessary job losses and other economic setbacks.
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