Mayor Solly Msimanga, with Tshwane MMC for Health Sakkie du Plooy in Pretoria where the municipality announced a revised smoking policy. PHOTO: ANA

Pretoria - Tshwane Mayor Solly Msimanga on Thursday announced interventions and a revised smoking policy which bans designated smoking areas within municipal buildings, in a bid to arrest the scourge of smoking-related diseases across South Africa’s administrative capital city.

“The prohibition of smoking in facilities owned and managed by the City of Tshwane is informed by our concern for the health and safety of both our employees and members of the public that make use of these facilities. The City of Tshwane’s revised Smoking Policy dictates that those who choose to smoke may not do so within five meters of doorways, windows and building air supply through which tobacco smoke may readily enter the building,” Msimanga told journalists in Pretoria.

He said smokers are also required to dispose of the remains of cigarettes in proper containers in order to keep a neat and clean environment for all employees, visiting partners and customers.

“The prohibition has been supported by the eradication of designated smoking areas within buildings and the erection of notices that inform people that they are entering a smoke-free facility. The responsibility to ensure understanding of the policy among employees is entrusted to line managers and supervisors and compliance is required from all employees, clients and persons visiting the City of Tshwane, without exception,” said Msimanga.

“While the policy has been in effect since 2012, the DA-led multi-party administration has now taken it upon itself to ensure that it is fully implemented and enforced under my leadership and the custodianship of the MMC for Health Sakkie du Plooy. The first major step that we are taking is that all group heads will be required to sign a declaration that obliges them to ensure that all their subordinates understand the requirements of the policy and their duties therein.” 

Msimanga emphasised that employees and clients found to be in violation of this smoking policy “will be subjected to disciplinary action and fines”. He said Tshwane was also offering help to officials who want to quit.

“While taking note that smoking is an addictive behaviour, our policy also makes provision for employee assistance for those who wish to quit the habit. In short, the policy has the best interests of its employees and the public at heart. It has to put stringent measures in place to address non-compliance while simultaneously ensuring a proper understanding and knowledge of the policy by end-users as well as support for those who wish to stop smoking,” said Msimanga.

“The City of Tshwane is proudly smoke-free, and we urge all our fellow cities and leaders to follow our lead, as it creates an ideal shared indoor environment for our employees, partners and customers.”

Msimanga said “being the first mayor of an African capital city to take the bold step of declaring all municipal facilities smoke-free zones”, he has been invited to participate 17th World Conference on Tobacco or Health to be hosted in Cape Town next week. Minister of Health Dr Aaron Motsoaledi and former Mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg are also scheduled to attend the conference.

African News Agency/ANA