High turnout at Tobacco Bill hearing in Rustenburg

A large number of people attended the public hearing on the Tobacco Bill in Rustenburg, North West. Picture: Molaole Montsho

A large number of people attended the public hearing on the Tobacco Bill in Rustenburg, North West. Picture: Molaole Montsho

Published Aug 18, 2023


A large number of people have shown up at the Tobacco Bill public hearing in Rustenburg.

The hearing was scheduled to start at 10am, but was delayed to accommodate members of the public who were standing in a long queue to get inside the hall.

The Portfolio Committee on Health is holding public hearings in the North West Province this weekend.

The first public hearing was on Friday in Rustenburg. The second leg of the hearing will be on Saturday in Klerksdorp, and the last public hearing takes place in Lonely Park, Mahikeng, on Sunday.

The North West is the first province to host the nationwide public hearings on the bill.

The Tobacco Products and Electronic Delivery Systems Control Bill, known as the Tobacco Bill, seeks to strengthen public health protection measures, align the South African tobacco control law with the World Health Organization Framework Convention, and repeal the Tobacco Control Act, 1993 (Act No. 83 of 1993).

The bill seeks to introduce indoor public places and certain outdoor areas that would be determined to be 100% smoke-free, ban the sale of cigarettes through vending machines, introduce plain packaging with graphic health warnings and pictorials, ban display at point-of-sale, and regulate and control electronic nicotine delivery systems and non-nicotine delivery systems.

"The hearings are in line with Chapter 59 (1) of South Africa’s Constitution, which compels the National Assembly to facilitate public involvement in the legislative process. Furthermore, the legislative sector adopted a public participation model that places public consultation at the centre of its business," said Dr Kenneth Jacobs, the chairperson of the committee.

The committee has decided to conduct public hearings during the week and on weekends to afford stakeholders, organisations, and individuals enough opportunity to participate.

"In trying to ensure the existence of a favourable atmosphere for a meaningful public participation process, we decided to hold hearings at times and days which will afford interested individuals and stakeholders a reasonable opportunity to participate. We are ready to listen," Jacobs said in a statement.

The closing date for written submissions has been extended to September 4.