The Priority Crime Investigation Directorate (the Hawks) said on Wednesday that a well-known television actor was arrested in connection with trafficking in illegal cigarettes.
“A 44-year-old soap opera actor was arrested in Limpopo on Wednesday along with four other suspects, aged between 38 and 42,” said Hawks spokesman Matimba Maluleke.
The man’s name was not disclosed.
“Hawks officials received a tip about suspects illegally selling cigarettes at a taxi rank in Polokwane (Pietersburg). An operation was performed early in the morning and the five people were caught with cigarettes, ”Maluleke added.
The officers seized 45 cartons of Remington Gold cigarettes worth R12 000 and R9 861 in cash.
“The suspects are expected to appear in the Polokwane Magistrate’s Court on Thursday on charges of violating the Customs and Excise Act and illegal cigarette trafficking.”
Tax Justice South Africa (TJSA), founded by outspoken anti-crime activist Yusuf Abramjee, is urging the South African government to lift the current ban on the sale of tobacco products. The ban was introduced as part of the country’s regulations to restrict the distribution of Covid-19. “The ban absolutely failed. Smokers are still smoking and criminals in the trafficking business are getting richer. Meanwhile, South Africa loses about R35 million in taxes daily. The ban turned 11 million smokers into criminals and real thugs became so strong that it might be impossible to stop them.
“Public anger gets worse every day and the tensions it causes to smokers become unbearable. I heard a woman tell how her elderly mother was suffering from withdrawal symptoms and is now a danger to herself. ”