High court rules ban on sale of tobacco products will remain
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Pretoria – The buying and selling of tobacco products remain forbidden. This after the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, on Friday afternoon turned down the application by the Fair Trade Tobacco Associations (Fita) to lift the government’s ban on the sale of tobacco products.
The full bench, headed by Judge President Dunstan Mlambo, said: "By their very nature, natural disasters may often result in unforeseen
consequences requiring a government to implement measures not necessarily foreseen at the time legislation was drafted to manage and
contain a state of natural disaster. The Covid-19 pandemic unfortunately bears testimony of this.”
The court further said due to the newness of the disease, governments are struggling to understand the effects of Covid-19.
It is in the context of the unpredictable nature of the disease that the government must take measures that are “necessary” to protect the public and to deal with the destructive effects of the disease, the court said.
“We are persuaded by the minister’s (Minister of Traditional Affairs and Cooperative Governance Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma) submission that Fita’s argument is misconceived as it ignores the context under which the regulations were promulgated,” the judges said.
They added that simply because a good (product) is addictive, it does not necessarily follow that it is therefore necessary for human survival or required for basic human functionality.
“Fita’s argument that cigarettes ought to have been considered 'essential' because they are addictive, has no merit. The fact that a substance is addictive does not render it essential.
"We therefore find no basis on which to interpret the level 5 regulations as permitting the sale of tobacco products,” the court said.