The cigarette ban in the country has confused and frustrated many smokers. Some smokers are now looking for alternative ways to obtain cigarettes. Some have even bought illegal cigarettes.
During this time, the Police have their hands full with the sale of cigarettes and the illegal cigarette trade.
#sapsKZN This morning Umhlali #K9Unit members received information of illegal sales of cigarette at Shakaskraal during the #21DaysLockdown. The members acted swiftly and arrested a male and female at two stores. Accused will appear in court in June 2020. NP pic.twitter.com/pR2QccjJbO— SA Police Service ?? (@SAPoliceService) April 6, 2020
#sapsKZN On 05/04, Ethekwini Inner South Cluster Task Team arrested 2 men for contravening Disaster Management Act in Shallcross. One suspect offered police a R10 000 bribe. Police seized 430 packets of cigarettes and cash. They will also be charged for bribery. NP pic.twitter.com/f7d2VkZBnB— SA Police Service ?? (@SAPoliceService) April 6, 2020
#sapsGP Members of Vanderbijlpark SAPS & SANDF swiftly reacted to a tip-off by community about illegal activities in their area this morning. 2 Suspects arrested on charges of possession of illicit cigarettes & dealing in drugs. #COVID19 #21DaysLockDown SW pic.twitter.com/iIVP68wRCV— SA Police Service ?? (@SAPoliceService) April 4, 2020
Tax Justice South Africa have called ban on cigarettes and alcohol flawed:
#LockdownSA must care for citizens. The ban on cigarettes and alcohol is flawed.— Tax Justice South Africa (@TaxJustice_SA) April 6, 2020
Addicts will still buy the products. Instead of buying them along with essential goods they are forced to buy them from illegal traders who loot SA of BILLIONS in excise and tax. #COVID19inSA pic.twitter.com/Jz87l93Ky1
See below how government changed the statements regarding the sale of cigarettes during the lockdown
- 25 March 2020: Trade Minister said in a statement to media that “Cigarettes is not a basic good.” and therefore you will not be able to purchase it during the lockdown
- 30 March 2020: According to Netwerk24, Vish Naidoo, spokesperson for Police Minister Bheki Cele, has just confirmed that people are now allowed to buy cigarettes at stores in the 21 days of restriction.
- 30 March 2020: The police department walked back the statement on Sunday night (30 March). TimesLive reported, Brig Vish Naidoo said: “In response to posts on various social media platforms, please be advised that cigarettes and tobacco are NOT essential items.”
- 1 April 2020: In a statement on the Western Cape Government website, the spokesperson for the Provincial Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities says that Cigarettes may be sold during the lockdown, but only together with essential goods.
- 2 April 2020: Minister of Police warn Western Cape for allowing cigarette sales
- 5 March 2020: Police Minister Bheki Cele says the Western Cape has reinstated a ban on the sale of cigarettes during the lockdown period.