'I can deal with court cases' - NDZ on continued litigation despite lifting of tobacco ban

'I can deal with court cases' - NDZ on continued litigation despite lifting of tobacco ban

Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma says she's not discouraged by the continuous litigation against government over the ban on the sale of tobacco products, even after the ban had been lifted.

Cogta Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma NCCC level 2

Tobacco sales are now permitted under level 2 of the lockdown but this hasn't stopped certain associations from venting their grievances in courts. 

The Fair-Trade Independent Tobacco Association (FITA) says the eased ban won't stop them from challenging the Disaster Management Act in court. 

READ: Over 12 000 COVID-19 deaths recorded in South Africa

FITA argued that the ban on the sale of cigarettes was harming both the industry and individuals and the reasoning behind it was irrational. 

But Dlamini-Zuma begs to differ. 

"I can deal with court cases. What we do when we defend ourselves, we tell the court our rationale for having taken that decision, the evidence on which we based that decision, why we took that decision, what do we want to achieve, will it achieve the purpose for what it is meant. Of course, we go into detail but that's how we've been defending ourselves. 

"That's why we've won the cases because we've taken very rationale decisions and we've used methods that will achieve what is there and we've evidence that is available." 

The case by Fita has gone as far as the Supreme Court of Appeal, which granted the association leave to appeal a previous judgement by a full bench at the Pretoria High Court. 

Dlamini-Zuma also slammed critics claiming she runs government with an iron fist. 

"Criticism about tobacco, I think people are giving too much credit that I don't deserve. I do not run the government, I'm part of a collective on government. 

"The way people have been putting it's as though I tell the entire Cabinet that we've going to limit the sale of tobacco, now we're going to open the sale of tobacco, now we're going to limit the sale of alcohol – no I do not do that.

"I think you are short-changing the government and the president because the president leads a team and it's the team that decides." 

She added: "But to pretend that it's just my decisions, I think it's just disingenuous to say that. But I suppose some people find it easier to find a scapegoat and that's just part of life." 

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