Friday, 1 May 2020


British American Tobacco South Africa (BAT) is threatening to go to court if the government does not concede to its demand to lift the ban on tobacco products by Monday.

Through its lawyers Webber Wenztel, the company said in a letter to government that its u-turn on lifting the ban was unreasonable.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced previously that at the end of the level 5 lockdown on April 30, the sale of tobacco products would be permitted.

However, on Wednesday cooperative governance and traditional affairs minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said the ban would remain after public comments advised against it.

"Government took that into consideration, debated the merits, looked at it and decided that we must continue as we are when it comes to cigarettes and tobacco products and related items that we should not open up for sale," she said.

BAT said government had until 10am on Monday to take their demands into consideration or face an urgent court application.
“If we do not receive a confirmation, our instructions are to bring an urgent application for the review and setting aside of Regulation 27, on the grounds that it is unlawful and irregular,” said the letter.

Within a short space of time after Ramaphosa's initial announcement, BAT had received more than 10,000 orders from retailers wishing to sell tobacco products.

“This lifting of the prohibition was celebrated not only by our client, but by retailers and consumers throughout the country.

“At no stage was our client or anyone else given the opportunity to comment on the proposed retention of the prohibition. Our client has been severely prejudiced by the prohibition on the sale of tobacco products and vaping.” Times


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