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Cigarette sales ban not forever - Ramaphosa

President Cyril Ramaphosa in a virtual imbizo called on all South Africans to join in the fight against COVID-19, with infection levels expected to peak.

President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses the nation on 17 June 2020 on the easing of level 3 lockdown restrictions. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - President Cyril Ramaphosa said that the ban on the sale of cigarettes was not forever and sales would return as the lockdown levels were altered.

He has fielded a variety of questions from members of the public during a virtual question and answer session on Wednesday evening.

"Cigarettes are not banned forever in our country and the ban will be lifted."

President Ramaphosa called on all South Africans to join in the fight against COVID-19, with infection levels expected to peak.

The president also spoke about gender-based violence, saying that a unified approach was needed to stop the scourge.

SA NEEDS SERIOUS DISCUSSION ABOUT ALCOHOL

President Ramaphosa also touched on the lifting of the alcohol ban saying that there was extensive discussion on whether to lift the sale of alcohol and that the consequences of lifting the ban had been regrettable.

The president said that lifting the alcohol ban had seen hospitals battle.

"The trauma units in our hospitals were relatively empty during the lockdown period and after the relaxation of the alcohol ban, they've now been clogged with a number of cases."

He said that there needed to be a serious discussion about alcohol consumption.

"The other part that's regrettable, and this is now the social aspect, is that we are seeing as one of the countries on the world that has a high alcohol consumption level and this is something that I have said we need to have a conversation about."

WATCH: Ramaphosa chats with the nation about COVID-19

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