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Govt backtracks on 'incorrect' tweet on booze & cigarette bans during lockdown

Earlier on Wednesday the government tweeted that "The ban on the sale of alcohol and cigarette will remain in place throughout the lockdown period. The purpose is to save lives and protect the health and well-being of our people."

© koloj/123rf.com

JOHANNESBURG - Government said a tweet posted earlier on Wednesday indicating that the cigarette and alcohol bans would last throughout lockdown was incorrect.

"The ban on the sale of alcohol and cigarette will remain in place throughout the lockdown period. The purpose is to save lives and protect the health and well-being of our people," the government account tweeted earlier on Wednsday.

It now seems the tweet wasn't clear on what it meant as government moved to tweet a correction that the ban would last throughout level 3 lockdown:

After the initial tweet, the Fair-Trade Independent Tobacco Association (Fita) demanded that government clarify the tweet.

"This statement contradicts 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," the association said in a statement released on Wednesday.

Cigarettes have been banned since lockdown was first declared in March, while there was a brief reprieve for alcohol when the ban on sales was lifted in June and then imposed again in July.

Some have welcomed the clarification on the original tweet.