Govt asks for more time to fight tobacco ban in court

Govt asks for more time to fight tobacco ban in court

The Fair-Trade Independent Tobacco Association (Fita) is fuming after government requested a postponement on the filing of legal documents related to the ban on the sale of tobacco products.

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma on Level 3 regulations

Fita has pleaded with Gauteng Judge President Dustan Mlambo to deny the request by Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma for an extension to file answering affidavits.

The department’s spokesperson, Lungi Mtshali confirmed to Jacaranda FM News on Wednesday that the state attorney had written to Mlambo – saying the state’s legal counsel needed more time to prepare and ensure they are present when the matter is adjudicated.

The sale of tobacco products remains prohibited under level 3 of the lockdown.

READ: British American Tobacco contests SA lockdown ban

“The respondents have not brought a substantive application for postponement. On this basis alone, we submit that the request should be denied,” says Fita chairperson Sinehlanhla Mnguni.

The matter was set to be heard next week.

Mnguni believes the state acted in bad faith by directly approaching the presiding judge.

“They felt like they needed to advance us further with reasons why the ban was extended, but what we are saying is that correspondence of such nature should never be advance to judges that are hearing the matter. 

"We are also very concerned by the state attorney in addressing correspondence to the judge president seeking a postponement of the matter.”

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