Govt’s tobacco U-turn supported by medical evidence, says Dlamini-Zuma

Govt’s tobacco U-turn supported by medical evidence, says Dlamini-Zuma

Minister of Cooperative Governance Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma says the government's change of heart on the sale of cigarettes during lockdown was made on the back of medical evidence.

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma at NCC cigarettes

"The decision was taken after careful consideration, not only of the submissions received, but also the relevant medical literature. It’s also is a decision that was endorsed by the NCCC (national coronavirus command council) and cabinet," Dlamini-Zuma stated in court papers.


She was responding to the urgent application by the Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association (Fita) to overturn the ban on the sale of tobacco products during the lockdown.


"There is nothing sinister in a change of position following a consultative process. In fact, the very nature of consultation is that change may result," Dlamini-Zuma added.


She also defended the U-turn by government on the sale of tobacco products, after President Cyril Ramaphosa initially said cigarettes would be on sale during Level four of the lockdown.


"My understanding is that the president made this statement based on the view that the NCCC had taken on the issue at the time."


She maintained that the minutes of the command council meetings are classified as secret in terms of the Protection of Information Act.


"Further, I am advised and submit that such minutes are privileged from disclosure in legal proceedings, as they are protected by what is known as 'public interest privilege'.”



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