FITA’s Legal Battle With Government Has Ended


The Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association (FITA) will no longer pursue legal action against the government over its ban on the sale of tobacco products during the COVID-19 lockdown.

This comes after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the selling of cigarettes will be allowed as part of the government’s phasing-out approach of certain lockdown conditions on 1 May.

In a statement on Friday, FITA chairperson Sinenhlanhla Mnguni thanked Ramaphosa, his Cabinet and their staff, and all other South Africans “who have ensured that, up until now, we have avoided the rapid spread of the coronavirus in our country”.

“It goes without saying that our organisation and many other role players along the tobacco industry value chain welcome the announcement by Ramaphosa that, among other things, the sale of cigarettes will be permitted during the next phase of the lockdown period commencing on 1 May,” Mnguni said.

FITA confirmed it would no longer pursue the legal steps intended to be initiated against government, and committed to continue engaging with government “to obtain clarity on what the implications of the next phase in government’s efforts at combatting the virus mean for our industry along the entire value chain”.