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Lawyer: Dlamini-Zuma looked at economic, psychological impact of tobacco ban

Fita argued that Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma did not weigh all relevant facts properly when the decision was made to ban the sale of tobacco products.

Picture: Pixabay.com

JOHANNESBURG - Government has welcomed the Pretoria High Court’s decision to dismiss the Fair-Trade Independent Tobacco Association (Fita)’s bid to have the ban on the sale of cigarettes lifted.

In its submission, Fita argued that Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma did not weigh all relevant facts properly when the decision was made.

Fita contends that should the Supreme Court of Appeal hear its case, it may agree that the decision to prohibit tobacco products from being sold during the lockdown was irrational.

Advocate Marumo Moerane insisted that all relevant factors, including the economic and psychological impact of the sale ban, were considered by Dlamini-Zuma.

“Failure to consider various factors only renders executive action reviewable if failure to consider that factor renders a decision as irrational.”

Advocate Arnold Subel for Fita told the court that it erred in not finding that a rational connection had not been shown to exist between the ban on sales and the saving of lives through curbing COVID-19 infections not to put a strain on the fragile health system.

“It’s a reasonable prospect that applying the evidence that was before the minister justifies this matter.”

In its reasons for the sales ban, the government explained that its primary responsibility was to save lives and if by stopping people from smoking, even if just for the time being would make a difference in the number of critical cases that health facilities could end up having to deal with during the pandemic.

Judgment was reserved with the full bench promising to deliver it next week.

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