According to reports, on Wednesday the Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association (FITA) announced that it expelled the Gold Leaf Tobacco Company with immediate effect.
Although no reasons were immediately provided, the termination is reportedly due to claims made by competitors and researchers, saying Gold Leaf was supplying the black market during the tobacco sales ban.
The claims were reportedly made by British American Tobacco based on research done by the Research Unit on the Economics of Excisable Products based at the University of Cape Town. BAT claims Gold Leaf had sold 10 million cigarettes per day during the ban.
Gold Leaf is a Zimbabwean owned tobacco company producing brands such as RG, Voyager, Chicago and Savannah.
FITA chairman Sinenhlanhla Mnguni confirmed the termination of Gold Leaf, however, the group says it was their choice to leave FITA.