The civil rights group AfriForum sent a letter of attorney to the Minister of Cooperative Government and Traditional Affairs, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, in which she was informed that the organization would take legal action if the smoking ban was not lifted.
The ban on the sale of tobacco products is now also continued at level 3 of the seclusion regulations after Pres. Cyril Ramaphosa initially said it would already be lifted at level 4 of the regulations.
The Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association (Fita SA) has already dragged the minister to court over the ban. Fita SA argues in court documents that the ban was never legitimate, to begin with, and is now calling for an urgent order that the decision is reversed. Fita also asked that the government provide the reasons why the ban continues.
Ernst Roets, Head of Policy and Action at AfriForum, says there is no rational basis for the smoking ban and that the secrecy of the government in this respect amounts to a violation of the public’s civil rights.
Roets says he is also concerned about rumors that Dlamini-Zuma has friends in the underworld who are smuggling cigarettes illegally.
“AfriForum does not fight for smoking; we fight for freedom: Freedom for the community not to be subjected to outrageous precepts, ”says Roets.
In the attorney’s letter, AfriForum asks that the smoking ban be lifted and says if the Minister does not respond adequately to AfriForum’s attorney’s letter by Monday, further legal action will be considered.
“However, we trust that legal action can be avoided and that the irrational, unconstitutional and unlawful ban on tobacco products is lifted in a timely manner.”
South Africa moves to level 3 of the seclusion regulations on Monday. More details on the regulations are expected to be released later today, after a media conference on it has been postponed twice before.