Judgment in tobacco sale ban matter between BATSA, Cogta has been reserved

British American Tobacco took government to court in a bid to have that ban on the sale of tobacco products lifted.

© koloj/123rf.com

JOHANNESBURG - Judgment has been reserved in the case between British American Tobacco South Africa (BATSA) and the Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Department (Cogta) over the contentious tobacco ban.

BATSA took government to court in a bid to have that ban on the sale of tobacco products lifted.

It’s argued the decision to outlaw the sale of tobacco products infringes on constitutional rights.

The judges presiding over the case will now consider submissions presented to them before delivering judgment.

On Wednesday, BATSA advocate Alfred Cockrell argued the ban on tobacco products violates the rights of consumers and the right to free trade.

They questioned government's reasoning that smoking could result in a severe form of COVID-19.

However, representing the Cogta Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Advocate Karrisha Pillay on Thursday made reference to several studies and research done, which shows smokers are at high risk of contracting respiratory diseases.

Pillay also quoted research by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Cockrell hit back saying the WHO has always warned smokers about the harmful effects of tobacco.

“In the pre-pandemic world, when the WHO also recommended that smokers stop smoking, this government didn’t prohibit the sale of cigarettes. Nowhere in this document, does the WHO say, we recommend that government prohibit the sale of cigarettes. That’s what they don’t say.”
Government throughout the pandemic stressed the ban has been necessary to take the strain off the health system.

It maintains the ban is aimed at saving lives.

Download the EWN app to your iOS or Android device.