With the ban on selling cigarettes during lockdown, smokers scrambled to pack and loose cigarettes. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency(ANA)
With the ban on selling cigarettes during lockdown, smokers scrambled to pack and loose cigarettes. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency(ANA)

Western Cape still awaiting clarity on sale of cigarettes and stationery

By Marvin Charles Time of article published Apr 7, 2020

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Cape Town - There is still confusion around the banning of cigarettes in the Western Cape. 

The banning of the cigarettes was lifted in the Western Cape after an announcement was made by Premier Alan Winde. However, at a press briefing, Police Minister Bheki Cele foiled the province's plans.

Bianca Capazorio, Winde's spokesperson said: “Representatives from the Western Cape Government's legal team consulted with SAPS in the Western Cape regarding the interpretation of a number of regulations in order to gain clarity on frequently asked questions from residents. At the time, SAPS WC agreed with the interpretation that cigarettes could be sold, provided they were bought with other essential goods. This was therefore communicated. However, national SAPS disagreed.”

The national government imposed the toughest measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19), including a 21-day “stay at home” lockdown. During the lockdown, essential service retailers and petrol station convenience stores are prohibited to sell alcohol or cigarettes.

The Western Cape government released a statement last week explaining the lift days after the National Disaster Act outlawed the sale amid the 21-day national lockdown.

Cele said at a briefing: “It doesn’t matter where you are, cigarette sales are not allowed. That includes the Western Cape.”

Capazorio added: “We are still awaiting clarity on the lockdown regulations from the national government on a range of issues including the sale of cigarettes, the purchase of stationery and electronic equipment for learning and for people working from home. Premier Winde raised the matter during the Presidential Coordinating Council (PCC) meeting at the weekend, and the province has submitted a letter with all of our concerns around regulations to the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs. We will share more information once they have responded. In the meantime, the national government's position is that these items should not be sold.”

She was unable to say when new regulations will be announced.

@MarvinCharles17

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Cape Argus

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