U-turn on sale of cigarettes, ban to remain in place

U-turn on sale of cigarettes, ban to remain in place

Government has made an unexpected turnabout on the sale of cigarettes, saying the sale of tobacco products will remain illegal during level 4 of the lockdown.

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma at NCC cigarettes

Last week President Cyril Ramaphosa indicated that the contentious ban on the sale of cigarettes would be lifted on Friday.

But that is no longer the case. 

Various ministers who sit on the coronvirus command council held a briefing in Pretoria on Wednesday to explain the level 4 lockdown regulations.

Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said the decision was reversed following input from members of the public.  

“On Saturday we had said we are consulting about allowing cigarettes and related products.

“Even at the press conference itself there was quite an opposition to that. Even in the public comments there was a lot of opposition to that – more than 2000 people opposed.”

She added: “The government took that into consideration, debated the matter and looked at it and decided that we should continue as we are when it comes to cigarettes, tobacco products and related, that we should not open up their sale.”


Man arrested in Tzaneen for illegal cigarettes, stolen vehicles

Limpopo police believe the goods to be worth over R1.5 million. Police spokesperson Motlafela Mojapelo says the man was nabbed at a house in the CBD. "After a search was conducted at this house, 84 boxes containing illicit cigarettes, 1319 sexual performance-enhancing pills and cash amount of more than R60 000 were recovered," says Mojapelo.

Dlamini-Zuma warned that opening up the sale of cigarettes would only encouirage close contact between smokers.

“When people share a cigarette if one of them has a virus then it will be shared among them.”

The sale and distribution of alcohol will also remain on the back burner until the spread of the virus has eased.

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