Civil rights’ organisation, Tax Justice South Africa, says it believes the Fair Trade Tobacco Association (FITA) has recourse to appeal the High Court’s judgment on the tobacco ban. On Friday, the High Court in Pretoria dismissed Fita’s application to have the ban overturned, with costs. The court ruled that FITA’s argument that cigarettes should be regarded as essential because tobacco is addictive, has no merit.
Founder of Tax Justice SA, Yusuf Abramjee, has once again called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to intervene in the matter and overturn the ban.
“Every day that the ban continues, the crooks are becoming more firmly entrenched and enriched. During the three months or so of the lockdown, decent South Africans have lost more than R3 billion in excise duties alone that money is desperately needed to fight the crisis crippling our country,” says Abramjee.
The Department of Cooperative Governance has welcomed the Pretoria High Court ruling on the tobacco sales ban.
Meanwhile, British American Tobacco (BAT) will be in court to fight the ban on 5 August.
FITA Chairperson, Sinenhlanhla Mnguni, says in principle they support BAT in its legal challenge.
“We support anyone that is bringing any application that deals with the lifting of this ban. We feel that the ban on the sale of cigarettes is arbitrary and is definitely unjust. It infringes on many rights and interests in as far as people, both smokers and people employed by the tobacco industry along the value chain,” says Mnguni.