Batsa confident SCA will uphold ruling on lockdown tobacco sales

British American Tobacco South Africa (Batsa) said that it was disappointed but not surprised that government had been granted leave to appeal a ruling that the lockdown ban on tobacco sales was unconstitutional and invalid.

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CAPE TOWN - British American Tobacco South Africa (Batsa) said that it was disappointed but not surprised that government had been granted leave to appeal a ruling that the lockdown ban on tobacco sales was unconstitutional and invalid.

In December, Batsa and nine co-applicants were successful with a strong judgment delivered against Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

READ: Batsa vindicated by unconstitutional ban on tobacco during lockdown

That came four months after the ban was lifted.

Tobacco sales were prohibited between March and August as part of the government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Batsa said that based on the strength of the Western Cape High Court's findings, it was confident that the Supreme Court of Appeal would uphold the judgment and rule in their favour.

However, the tobacco producer's Johnny Moloto said that it would be wiser if government used resources to combat the illicit trade in cigarettes.

ALSO READ: Batsa: Armed theft of cigarettes increasing, fueling illicit trade

"By confronting the criminal tobacco manufacturers who now dominate the market, they would at the least return many needed billions to the fiscus at this crucial time."

He added that instead of taking 'futile' challenges to the Supreme Court, government should immediately ratify the global Illicit Trade Protocol that had been developed for close to a decade.

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