Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said in a court case against her that she expects the ban on tobacco products during the COVID 19 lockdown will eventually lead to a significant number of South Africans quitting smoking.
Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association appealed to the Pretoria High Court to invalidate the ban. The case will be heard on June 9.
Dlamini-Zuma argues the ban will help the poor and the youth to abandon their smoking habit.
She points out that the Human Sciences Research Council found in two polls among some 70,000 smokers that 88% of smokers were unable to buy cigarettes during level 5 of the restriction.
The minister says there is already evidence that 95% of smokers can quit smoking without medication or official help.
“The majority of former smokers say it was easier to quit smoking than they expected.”
She also claims that the third and fifth days after people quit smoking are the most difficult.
Dlamini-Zuma and Pres. Cyril Ramaphosa is the two respondents in the case.
As Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Dlamini-Zuma is responsible for the implementation of the containment measures.
She argues the government’s overarching reason for the temporary ban is to protect human lives and people’s health.
AfriForum announced on Wednesday afternoon that it has signed a lawyer’s letter to Dlamini-Zuma informing the organization that it will take further legal action if the smoking ban is not lifted.