South Africa: BAT challenges legal ban on tobacco sales
The sale of cigarettes and tobacco has been banned for two months as part of the measures put in place by the South African government to fight Covid-19. (Illustrative photo) Getty Images
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In South Africa, the tobacco giant - British American Tobacco (BAT) - is taking legal action to challenge the ban on the sale of tobacco. The sale of cigarettes and tobacco has been banned for two months as part of the measures put in place by the South African government to fight Covid-19.
Last week, the South African government announced a reduction in the measures taken to combat the coronavirus, notably by lifting the ban on the sale of alcohol, but not on the sale of cigarettes. This decision angered the manufacturers and tobacco traders. The South African branch of British American Tobacco has therefore taken legal action.
" Given the situation and the government's lack of response, despite our requests, we are taking urgent legal action ," the group said in a statement.
Industrialists have been negotiating a resumption of their activities for weeks. The government ban also angered smokers, especially since its rationale was unconvinced.
According to the minister in charge of the health crisis, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the way tobacco is shared does not allow social distancing: " When people roll a cigarette, they put saliva on the paper, then they share this cigarette, ”she explained.
Since the end of March, more than half a million people have signed a petition denouncing what they call " farce ". For cigarette manufacturers, " the only beneficiaries " of this ban are " illegal sellers ", the black market having exploded.
As for British American Tobacco, which has taken legal action, the losses are enormous. The group is number one in the country, with 78% market share.
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