Fita pushes forward with legal battle despite lifted tobacco ban

Fita pushes forward with legal battle despite lifted tobacco ban

The Fair-Trade Independent Tobacco Association (Fita) has welcomed the decision to lift the ban on the sale of tobacco products after a 5-month long hiatus. 

Cigarettes in ashtray

At the weekend, President Cyril Ramaphosa confirmed that the country will move to level 2 of the lockdown from midnight on Monday. 

Under lockdown level 2 the sale of both tobacco products. 

Fita chairperson Sinenhlanhla Mnguni says it’s important for the organisation to put the Disaster Management Act through the tests of the judiciary. 

“We’ve been in consultation with our legal team since the announcement, via the Supreme Court of Appeal, which granted us leave to appeal the ruling of the full bench of the Pretoria High Court and then more so after the president’s announcement lifting the ban of the sale of cigarettes. 

“We have always maintained that the ban on the sale of cigarettes and tobacco related products would never have been in place under any of the lockdown levels and this is one of the reasons why we are continuing with our court application,” Mnguni explains. 

It’s been five months since the National State of Disaster was first declared by President Ramaphosa back in March.

Mnguni says the ban has had irreparable damage to the industry. 

“It’s going to be a tough road to recovery. 

“This is something we raised with government when they confirmed they were maintaining the ban on the sale of cigarettes and we states that it would lead to is that criminal syndicates who apply their trade in the illicit economy are going to intrench themselves into the market and it’s going to make it difficult for us to root the criminal elements out of the industry.” 

Fita has previously been accused of having a hand in the illicit trade but Mnguni has denied these claims.  

“Those are of course serious allegations and in terms of us as an organization and our court case, we deny them.

“There’s no truth to that in as far as our members are concerned. If anything, the exports of our members were facilitated by the South African Revenue Service and the entire process has been a stringent one.” 

Mnguni adds the association awaits the gazetted regulations with baited breathe. 


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