Dr. Cooperative government minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma denied allegations by alleged illegal cigarette dealings, Adriano Mazzotti and her are were just friends.
Dlamini-Zuma was asked about her ties to Mazzotti on Tuesday during a parliamentary session by the leader of the DA in the National Council of Provinces, Cathy Labuschagne.
“I’m not Mazzotti’s friend,” replied Dlamini-Zuma. She said anyone who violated the law in South Africa must be arrested, tried and sentenced – including illegal traffickers in tobacco.
Last month, with the move from level 5 to level 4 of the seclusion period, Dlamini-Zuma announced that the tobacco ban remains in place. This after Pres. Cyril Ramaphosa announced just days before that level 4 cigarettes could be sold.
Ramaphosa subsequently announced on May 13 that large parts of the country could move to level 3 of the seclusion period by the end of May. Discussions followed, and Ramaphosa also said there would be discussions on the sale of alcohol and cigarettes. Ramaphosa addressed the country again on Sunday, announcing that level 3 alcohol may be sold, but that the tobacco ban still applies.
The issue of Dlamini-Zuma’s ties to Mazzotti – there are pictures of them snugly standing side by side – became increasingly pertinent during the state of restriction as the banning of cigarette sales meant smokers were increasingly turning to the smuggling trade in tobacco products.
This means legitimate cigarette traders and the state treasury (due to loss of cigarette tax) lose their income while illegal traders laugh all the way to the bank, cigarette prices rise drastically and many South Africans start to disobey the law and become violators of banning cigarette sales.
In this regard, Dlamini-Zuma’s role as a leading fighter against legitimate cigarette sales, and the indications that Mazzotti was a major sponsor of her failed attempt to become ANC leader in 2017, did not pass.
In any case, Dlamini-Zuma left no doubt that she was the foremost fighter against cigarettes.
She made a lengthy commitment to the disadvantages of smoking when asked about the link between smoking and the coronavirus, adding that the state’s legal team is ready for the lawsuit against the constitutionality and legality of the ban on cigarette sales.