The ban on selling tobacco and tobacco-related products is not forever says Dlamini Zuma. And the government has a duty under the Constitution to protect lives and thus also the health of citizens.
The ban on selling tobacco products will also ease the pressure on the health system in the country.
These are some of the important aspects that Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, highlighted her response to the case brought by British American Tobacco SA (Batsa) against her, the President and the National Command Council.
Dlamini-Zuma’s response, which covers more than 500 pages, contains her statement supported by an oath of affirmation by Dr. Cassius Lubisi, director-general in the presidency.
The government also obtained statements from seven experts, including the Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine, Genesis Analytics, the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), the South African Medical Research Council, Social Surveys SA and two expert statements from the University of Cape Town.
Dlamini-Zuma argues that it is the government’s duty to protect people’s lives during the pandemic. The regulations of the ban were promulgated in terms of regulation 27 after following proper procedures in government. Batsa argues this is not true.
She goes on to say that because it is a new disease, the available information is constantly changing, but based on evidence from her experts, there appears to be an increased risk of transmitting the virus to smokers and the ban has been introduced to reduce that risk. .
The ban is an effective way to reduce the number of people who smoke. These allegations are also supported by the World Health Organization, says Dlamini-Zuma.
“A responsible government must take a cautious approach and it is very important to reduce the pressure on the country’s health system,” says her statement.
According to Dlamini-Zuma, the HSRC conducted a study (which is part of the document) among 19,000 people and according to this, only 11.8% could still get cigarettes, while 88% could not.
This study is used to counter the applicants’ views on the growth in the illegal cigarette market.
Dlamini-Zuma argues the results of the study show that the ban works and that the most vulnerable people in society are protected.