Fita ‘not surprised’ by soldiers seen smoking at Mlangeni funeral

Fita ‘not surprised’ by soldiers seen smoking at Mlangeni funeral

The Fair-Trade Independent Tobacco Association (Fita) says it is not surprised by images of the soldiers smoking on national television.

Cigarrate at Andrew Mlangeni Funeral

Three high-ranking SANDF officials were caught by a Newzroom Afrika cameraman smoking during the funeral service of anti-apartheid activist Andrew Mlangeni on Wednesday.

The sale of cigarettes has been banned under level 3 lockdown regulations.

Police Minister Bheki  Cele has previously warned that anyone found smoking outside their homes would be required to show receipts of when the cigarettes were bought.

Fita chairperson Sinenhlanhla Mnguni says they have warned government of the consequences.

"We are not at all surprised, we warned the government that banning the sale of cigarette will turn normally law-abiding citizens into criminals and when you have people who are meant to be enforcing the lockdown regulations being the once contravening them it just shows the absurdity of it all," says Mnguni.

He says they are still pleading with the government to lift the ban.

"We again call on the government to lift the ban, it is not too late and enough damage has been done already. we do not understand why to continue with something of this nature particularly when the president himself stated that they are trying to undo the economic harm that has been done by the lockdown.

"We do not know why government persist on this ban, it doesn't make sense at all and it is not even found on science.”

The High Court in Pretoria rejected Fita's application to appeal the dismissal of its challenge on the ban of cigarette and tobacco products sales.

Fita will now file a petition with the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA).

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