British American Tobacco South Africa (Batsa) is considering its legal options after delaying its six-week ban on the sale of tobacco products.
The case was due to be heard on June 30, but was set to be held on Friday until August 5 and 6 to be heard before a full bench of judges.
The court’s quarterly recess begins next week and runs until August 4.
On June 1, Batsa filed an urgent application with the Western Cape High Court against Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, as well as the President and the COVID 19 Command Council brought. He argues that the ban on the sale of tobacco and related products is unconstitutional and should be reviewed and set aside.
The parties initially agreed that the matter should be heard on an urgent basis and agreed June 30 is an appropriate date.
On June 24, Batsa filed his complaint with the court. That reply comes after Dlamini-Zuma filed her opposing reply a week earlier.
So, in eight days, Batsa filed a full 500-page reply to the court.
The state claims Batsa has placed medical evidence in the reply by two medical experts and the government needs time to study and properly prepare it.
According to the letter, the state would inform Batsa about the issue and what the road ahead is after receiving a government order.
“We will do so as soon as possible, but our actions in this regard are limited by the possibility of the availability of the respondents’ expert testimonies,” the letter states.
The letter further reads: “We appreciate your (Hlophe) willingness to have the case heard by a full bench of judges after August 4, and given the urgency and importance, we request that the case be heard on August 5 and 6.”
It is clear from this email that it was the state attorney who requested the dates of August 5 and 6.
After being informed about the email, Batsa indicated that he did not know about it.
The organization then said in a statement that it was “alarming and alarming” that its application should only be heard on those dates.
Johnny Moloto, head of external affairs at Batsa, says the delay in administration and the outcome of the issue are inexplicable.
The state later said in a statement that he was not to blame for the further delay in the court application against him. He pointed out that the comments in the media that Batsa said the state was the cause of the delay are “inexplicable” and “wrong”.
The state says it was the judge president who decided the case should be heard in August.
The state stressed that it had no control over the setting of court dates and said it had made no attempt to control the case.
However, the state has agreed to the new dates as they have to prepare for the case after Batsa filed his reply.
Moloto says they are considering their legal options.