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Tobacco association calls for ‘clarity’ following govt tweet

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The tweet posted on the official government twitter account stated that the ban on the sale of alcohol and cigarettes will remain throughout the lockdown period.

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THE FAIR-trade Independent Tobacco Association (Fita) has called on government to immediately clarify a tweet posted on the official government twitter account (@GovernmentZA) on Wednesday stating that the ban on the sale of alcohol and cigarettes will remain in place throughout the lockdown period. 

Fita chairperson Sinenhlanhla Mnguni said that the statement contradicted government’s previous position on this issue, with inter alia President Cyril Ramaphosa and Minister Jackson Mthembu both stating on a number of occasions publicly that it was only a matter of time before the ban on the sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products was lifted. 

“Mthembu stated at a press briefing on May 29, 2020 that ‘The ban on cigarettes, it’s just at this level we are in. We don’t know how many weeks we will be at this level. I can assure you after we’ve been out of level 3, I don’t see the ban on the sale of cigarettes continuing.’

“The statement issued today by government creates the impression that government has no intention of lifting the ban on the sale of cigarettes under any level during the lockdown period,” Mnguni stated. 

He stated further that this position would have severe consequences for the fiscus, the industry as a whole, and all those who make a living from the industry. “We therefore call on government to urgently clarify its position on this issue.”