Instead of mending their wounds, the Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association (Fita) was drawing up a plan of action on Monday, including a potential appeal.
This comes after a full bench of judges in the Pretoria High Court ruled on Friday that Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, had valid reasons for instituting a tobacco ban.
Fita chairman Sinenhlanhla Mnguni confirmed on Monday that a decision on an appeal would be made soon. According to him, there are obvious grounds for such an application. According to him, the court erred in failing to properly pay attention to the medical research submitted by Fita.
“Our legal team is in the process of going through the verdict and working out a plan of action. If it is decided to pursue the matter further, it will be communicated, ”says Mnguni.
The smoking ban has been in place for more than three months and it has already had a huge financial impact on the industry, he says.
The Cabinet welcomed the ruling.
“The government persists (in its view) that the ban on the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products has been introduced to protect South Africans from Covid-19,” Cabinet spokesman Phumla Williams said in a statement.
In the judgment, all of Fita’s arguments were rejected. The judges, led by Gauteng judge President Dunstan Mlambo, ruled that Fita did not consider the context in which the regulations were made.
Many people in South Africa will undoubtedly still be dying of the virus, which is why the minister acted within her rights when she imposed the ban, the court said.
Smokers now place their hopes on the application of British American Tobacco South Africa (Batsa).
The organization is also considering other legal options after delaying its case by six weeks, reports Jana Breytenbach . The case was due to be heard on June 30, but has now been postponed to August 5 and 6 to be heard before a full bench of judges.