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Liquor, cigarette ban in place to protect lives in pandemic–Dlamini-Zuma lawyer

She said the minister believes that while tobacco use may not increase the risk of contracting COVID-19, it could result in a more severe form of the disease.

FILE: Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma speaking at a media briefing on Sunday 25 April 2020. Picture: GCIS

JOHANNESBURG – Co-operative Governance Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma's lawyer has told the Western Cape High Court that the over-arching reason to continue with the ban of tobacco products is to protect human life, and to reduce strain on the public health system.

She said the minister believes that while tobacco use may not increase the risk of contracting COVID-19, it could result in a more severe form of the disease – ultimately putting more pressure on an already strained health system.

The contentious ban on the sale of tobacco products is back in court on Thursday

Advocate Karrisha Pillay quoted the constitution to back up the minister's reasoning for keeping the ban in place.

“Section 27(1a) of the Constitution provides that everyone has the right to have access to health care services.”

She explains the overarching reason is to protect lives - during the coronavirus crisis.

“She raises the importance of this in light what she says is the predicted steep rise in the rate of infection following the lifting of the restrictions.”

On Wednesday, British American Tobacco South Africa insisted the cost of the ban far outweighs the benefits.

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