Millions of smokers had their plans to light up legally again put out like a crushed stompie on Wednesday evening.
The Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association (Fita) will be reinstating its legal bid to overturn the ongoing ban on the sale of cigarettes, as surprisingly announced by Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma on Wednesday night.
This was confirmed to The Citizen by Fita chairman Sinenhlanhla Mnguni.
The body had earlier suspended its proposed court action following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement last week that the sale of cigarettes would be allowed.
However, he has evidently been gainsaid by his ministers.
“Uplifting the ban would, among other things save jobs, bring more money into the state coffers, stimulate the economy, and decrease the psychological impact on South Africans of the lockdown period,” Mnguni said previously.
“We are already dealing with huge deficits in as far as our tax collections are concerned with the announcement … SARS collected R66.2 billion less than estimated.”FITA@fita_sa
Members of the National Coronavirus Command Council, as led by Dlamini-Zuma, offered a detailed briefing from Pretoria on the regulations that will be gazetted tomorrow on the Covid-19 level 4 restrictions.
The biggest surprises from the briefing were government’s bombshell backtracking on the sale of all tobacco products. They also for some reason would still not allow the sale of books (except for “educational books”), lumping them in with the other forbidden fermented fruit, alcohol.
Read the recently released regulations as they will be gazetted in the document here.