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ANCWL: Attack on Dlamini-Zuma over tobacco ban aims to pit her against Ramaphosa

The ANCWL said the singling out of Dlamini-Zuma from the leadership serving in the council is a 'well-calculated move' to create an impression that the minister is undermining President Cyril Ramaphosa's leadership.

Cyril Ramaphosa greets Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma after he triumphed against her to become new ANC president on 18 December 2017. Picture: Ihsaan Haffejee/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – The African National Congress Women's League (ANCWL) has strongly pushed back against attacks aimed at the coronavirus ministerial command council over the banning of the sale of tobacco products as part of level 4 lockdown regulations.

In a statement, the league has labelled the backlash directed at Cooperative Governance Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, who made the announcement last week, as ‘racist bile’.

The ANCWL said the singling out of Dlamini-Zuma from the leadership serving in the council is a "well-calculated move" to create an impression that the minister is undermining President Cyril Ramaphosa's leadership.

Citing health concerns, government has decided to ban the sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products under level 4 lockdown restrictions that came into effect on Friday.

British American Tobacco South Africa is among several bodies threatening legal action if the ban is not lifted.

WATCH: SA lockdown level 4: Exercise and food delivery allowed, no alcohol and cigarettes

On Friday BATSA Friday demanded that Dlamini-Zuma amend regulations prohibiting the sale of cigarettes and tobacco goods by Monday.

In a letter from its legal representatives, Webber Wentzel, the company said if the regulations were not rescinded, the leading tobacco products manufacturer would head to court.

BATSA has called the U-turn that government made on the cigarette embargo unreasonable.

The ban, which came into effect following the lockdown, has cost the Treasury at least R300 million in lost taxes.

Additional reporting by Verona Mokhoali