The appeals court on Tuesday ordered the government to file its response to the Fair-Trade Independent Tobacco Association (Fita)’s application for leave to appeal before the weekend.
The court gave the government until Friday at 15:00 to submit its court documents.
This after Fita had already submitted its application to the Court of Appeal on Friday to appeal directly in that court against a decision of the High Court not to set aside the ban on tobacco products.
Fita then has until August 11 to submit its response to the government’s submission.
The Court of Appeal is expected to decide relatively quickly whether to grant Fita’s application for leave to appeal. Should the application be granted, however, the case will probably only be heard in November.
Maroela Media reported earlier that Fita had initially given the Supreme Court leave to appeal. The application was heard last month, but the court ruled Fita did not provide compelling reasons as to why its application should be granted.
Sinenhlanhla Mnguni, chairman of Fita, argues in the court documents that the case is of material public interest and that the request for appeal is based on several legal grounds. It also affects the scope of Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs,’s powers to impose restrictions on the public under the Disaster Management Act.
Dlamini-Zuma still maintains that research proves smokers are worse affected by Covid-19. She says she is taking action to prevent this group from overwhelm the health system should they become ill. The minister firmly believes the ban forces smokers to quit smoking.
However, Fita claims that very few smokers have stopped smoking since the introduction of the ban and that the minister’s reasoning is therefore incorrect. Fita further claims, just like British American Tobacco SA in its court case, that the ban promotes the illegal trade in cigarettes and also deprives the South African government of millions of rands in tax money.