Tobacco Association Pursuing Legal Action


Reports say the South African government could be facing a court case to lift the ban on the sale of cigarettes.

On Friday the Fair-Trade Independent Tobacco Association (FITA) reportedly said it was pursuing a legal route to have the ban on the sale of cigarettes lifted.

The organisation said it had received numerous queries, submissions and messages of support, seeking to establish what their next steps are going to be in relation to the ban.

Sinenhlanhla Mnguni, the organisation’s chairperson, said in a statement that they have been consulting with their legal teams and “have come to the decision to approach the courts for the appropriate relief vis-à-vis the ban on the sale of cigarettes”.

“The uncertainty around the current restrictions and whether or not the lockdown period would be extended beyond the current end date left us with little choice but to take such a drastic step. We tried long and hard to engage with government on this issue but our pleas rather, unfortunately, fell on deaf ears,” Mnguni said.

He said they requested that government allow the distribution and sale of cigarettes at retail stores, spaza shops and filling stations. These are all places where citizens are currently permitted to purchase, what has been classified as, essential goods.

“This would give the economy a much-needed boost and avoid a situation where our citizens, out of desperation, contravene the regulations of the lockdown en masse,” Mnguni’s statement read.

Mnguni says the “simple truth” was that the current regulations would hurt the industry and “cannot be endured for much longer by the various role players along the tobacco industry value chain without severe consequences for all”.

“We are also seeing the illicit trade flourish whilst the legitimate tobacco industry is prevented from participating.”

“The long and short of this is that the regulations have not stopped people from buying cigarettes during the lockdown period. People are sourcing cigarettes and other goods from underground markets to the detriment of the fiscus,” he said.


  1. We are fighting a virus not lung problems. If people want to smoke, LET THEM. Cannibis is legal or is that also against the law for the time being. Because ONE minister doesn’t smoke, he stops the whole country from smoking!!!! I’ve got news for him – profits will go the people selling cigarettes illegally.

  2. I’m a smoker and obviously not doing great with not being able to buy cigarettes. I believe that it is an infringement on my rights. Smoking in general besides the Carona Virus is bad for your health. Yet I CHOOSE to smoke. Which is my right. What if we paid an and extra rand or so on each box of cigarettes? If a million people bought cigarettes at R 1 extra and each rand goes into a fund to help the less fortunate battling this lockdown, then that would be 1 million rand right there!! And guaranteed there will be more than a million boxes of cigarettes bought. Win win situation. Just a thought

  3. Im a smoker, its my choice to smoke, so ja its got nothing to do with who ever if i smoke.

  4. Illegal drug trade stick flourishing…….
    #just saying
    I’m almost running out and I’m more scared of getting sick stopping cold turkey than what I am of getting the virus because I know I am looking after myself. This is just in lament terms……super dumb


  6. Coca-Cola is still flourishing guess it is an essential product. This scenario is only increasing the black market trade. More people are learning the easy way to make money. Do you think they would go back to a normal job if they earning what they are now? I hear R80 a pac of smokes?

    • Let places like the grocery shops, petrol stations sell cigarettes, when you go in to buy groceries you can also buy cigarettes. We are suffering from this ban. It is really terrible.

  7. Thank you for helping us smokers. Yes I agree about fighting the virus. We drive from one tuck shop to another to get our goodies. And that causes the virus to spread more. Where as to we could get our sigaretts when we need to buy our weekly essentials, come home, and relax and enjoy our habit. And we stay in lockdown.

  8. Every person have a right and choice. There are alot of other illegal things going on that should be attended to instead of focussing on smokers.

  9. I had my lockdown plan worked out perfectly. I was to go to the shop once a week to buy bread only as we prepared for everything else for 21 days…well he extended it and I had to break my plan on Friday to go beg for a smoke somewhere….anywhere…..anyone. A stranger gave me a smoke…I sprayed it with my sanitizer, waited until it was dry and said a little prayer hoping that this person did not have the virus.

  10. This Ban is not in Act to a Democratic State and working to the Rights of People.
    It is a choice to Smoke cigarettes and its a choice to drink Alchol.
    This should never happen, give the people they Rights back.

  11. I am not a smoker but I see smokers getting agitated and now you hear of more violence and fights, the government must look at the rules and regulations they set down because it is contradictory. I am sure a lot of the ministers also smoke and have a drink. Did they stop with their habits?. Just asking

  12. I’m a smoker, and naturally was looking everywhere for cigarettes. This makes no sense to me at all. People pay illegally now, up to R80, and mind you some of those are the very ones complaining about not having food. The president must just please give us back our right to buy cigarettes legally, cos otherwise its gon turn much more uglier. What if lockdown gets extended by a further month? He’s sorted in his comfy house with all his comforts!

  13. Dear President Cyril Ramaphosa

    Today, I am writing to you as a stressed citizen of South Africa.
    I commend you in the decisions that you have taken to protect our country and citizens, however there is something that I need to let you know.
    The banning of alcohol, I can understand.
    The banning of nicotine is something I do not understand.
    Alcohol can lead to a lot of things when a person is highly intoxicated – I don’t think I need to elaborate on that as we have seen what it can do.
    How does nicotine affect one’s mind.
    I have been a smoker for 33 years now and you expect me to just give up overnight.
    Impossible Mr President. I am already stressing out knowing I only have 1 box left.
    I am pleading with you and speaking on behalf of thousands of citizens of SA to please rethink this ban and at least think of us. Not only are we under lockdown, sitting at home and getting frustrated but now we cannot smoke.
    I am humbly asking that you rethink this ban and please think of us.

  14. I am a 🚬 and I want to be able to make myself available for a long time and I need smoke 🚬 and I feel like a little bit sick for this Covuc 19.I smoke 🚬 for many years and I don’t have this problem in my life as a Citizen of South Africa.Pleas people do something.There is a lot of people who have a habit if he doesn’t have Smokes.

    It is not just for buying sigarettes , it is about the whole Tobacco industrie and the effect it is going to have from the farmer witch produce tobacco , their workers the factories witch produce the the final product . Our ‘Goverment ” lose out on billions of revenue ???? .
    i am with the Tobacco Association .

  16. It is absolute nonsense. Its taking away my democratic right to freedom of living my life.

  17. Thank you for trying to bring cigarettes back to the market. I see so many people, smokers suffering due to this rule, where people that not so financially well off have to pay R60 for a packet of cigarettes that normally will cost them R40. It a disgrace…. And so can’t just stop at once… The withdrawal symptoms not so good. Can sit with more sick people
    So thanks again for your efforts.

  18. Its pisses my off totally!!!! I have the right to smoke and drink, coz its MY responcibility if i choose to.
    Rapests, drug dealers, child molesters etc etc etc are still walking the streets, making money, farmers getting killed BUT NO! The government either worries about people choosing to kill their longes and enjoying a brannewyn en coke with a braai, rather stress about people in high places allowing drug dealers to go on about their days than us normal people enjoying bad habits!!!!!!!!!!

  19. Unfortunately we as smokers already have compromised our upper respiratory tract area, and that’s our problem and we accept that. HOWEVER being told like children we are not allowed to smoke won’t change the damage already possibly there. Besides, as the article very aptly points out WE Are STILL BUYING CIGARETTES even through lockdown, but from the Blackmarket guys who are making a killing! We as smokers stockpiled for a 21day lockdown (those that were able to financially) even though we were only given ONE DAY’S notice about the cigarette ban. There has also been so much see-sawing on this ban that it has created very blurred lines and quite frankly my opinion is that WITHDRAWL is also a medical condition! This ban on cigarettes and the latest RIDICULOUS BAN ON PREPARED WARM FOOD is of NO BENEFIT TO SEVERAL PEOPLE IN SEVERAL SECTORS AND serves no purpose with regards preventing the spread. If anything this BAN CAUSES MORE MOVEMENT of people ON THE STREET and in dodgy areas in some cases to obtain cigarettes illegally!!! WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?? CIGARETTES AND ALCOHOL SALES on Blackmarket is currently the ONLY BUSINESSES FLOURISHING during this lockdown!! WAKE UP!!!

  20. I am a smoker and now people are going out to find cigarettes so if you can buy at the supermarket where you buy your groceries there would not be as many trips out to find cigarettes. I thought this was a democratic country obvious its not its a dictatorship. Remember you were elected by the people for the people or have you forgotten that too. We had lock down extended which causes stress in its self and people that smoke that is sometimes their relief. That stupid Minister what is her poison lets ban her favourite thing see how she feels.

  21. Lift the ban it’s not his problem if we smoke he don’t pay for it we do so please just get of ouer back and lift the ban.

  22. Please I hope he lifts the ban it’s my right to smoke its no1s choice but mine and making us all criminals and paying so much for smokes is ridiculous 😡😡😡😡

  23. Mr President,what the ban on tobacco has caused is illegal black market trade and extortion with higher prices,because of the risk they are taking. The taxes on tobacco could have been better spent to help with the relief funds. U are never going to stop people from doing what they want,so the illegal trade in tobacco and alcohol is booming,so who is losing here,most certainly not the people. I suggest u find other ways to curb the people,to disrespect the lockdown laws,let everyone buy their stock with their essentials,no groceries no sigarette or alcohol. One visit and its done,now everyone is running around looking for an illegal trader. The traders has never been stupid they know how to trade and not be caught. We are thus supporting crime,which the government forced u in. The police and armed forces cannot run around to see who trades which by the way is not going to stop anyone,who is seeing that lockdown rules are applied. People stop drinking and smoking when they have the will to stop,but once forced u increase the urge to do it solely because someone said u could not. Stop crime and running around for supplies,u are making a lot of people criminals.

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