According to foreign reports, South Africa's high court ruled on December 11 that it was unconstitutional for South Africa to ban the sale of electronic cigarettes and tobacco during the compulsory blockade imposed earlier this year.
From March to August, the government banned the sale of tobacco products and alcohol to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Small companies, led by market leaders bat SA and the fair trade independent Tobacco Association (FITA), have questioned the ban, arguing that it is meaningless to ban a product whose health risk becomes apparent only in the long term.
They also questioned the rationale for the debate about sharing cigarettes. Tobacco companies say tobacco shortages and high prices for black market cigarettes only increase the likelihood of smokers sharing.
Before the court heard the case, the government lifted the ban, but Batsa decided to continue court action to prevent the ban from being reintroduced in the latter part of the pandemic.
The judge of the Western Cape high court, who presided over the case, said in a ruling Friday that the 45 rule on which minister Nkosazana dlamini Zuma was based "cannot and cannot be subject to constitutional review.".
In court, the government argued that the ban was aimed at reducing the occupancy of intensive care unit beds by smokers. If people don't use e-cigarettes or smoke, they probably won't get more serious covid-19. But Batsa insists the government has not defended the ban legally or scientifically.
Tobacco companies were satisfied with Friday's ruling.
"Bat South Africa's view that the catastrophic ban on tobacco sales was unreasonable and unconstitutional after the high court of the West Cape ruled in its favour, and this view has been confirmed," the company wrote in a press release. The five-month ban on the sale of tobacco and steam products is considered illegal and has exacerbated the illegal trade in tobacco and steam products in the country. "
"We agree with the judgment of all the judges of the Western Cape high court," FITA wrote in a statement. The court also held that Article 45 was neither necessary nor conducive to the objectives set out in Article 27 (2) of the disaster management act. This is, of course, one of the arguments made by the International Tobacco Association in questioning the ban on the sale of cigarettes and tobacco related products, which the judges of the North Gordon High Court wrongly considered necessary. "
After the court's ruling, Batsa also once again called on South Africa to urgently ratify the World Health Organization's protocol on illicit trade in order to eradicate the illegal sale of cigarettes. The company said ratification of the protocol was the only way for the country to make up for tax losses caused by the explosion of illegal trade during the ban on tobacco and steam products.
In July, Batsa estimated that banning the legal sale of cigarettes cost South Africa 4 billion rand (US $241.7 million) in excise tax revenue and 30000 industry jobs.