The Food and Allied Workers Union and other civil organisations will invade the streets of Pretoria today to march against the illicit trading of tobacco products. File picture: Michaela Rehle/Reuters (ANA) Archives

Pretoria - The Food and Allied Workers Union and other civil organisations will invade the streets of Pretoria on Tuesday to march against the illicit trading of tobacco products.

Participants are expected to convene at the Tshwane Events Centre on WF Nkomo Streets early in the morning and start marching to National Treasury on Church Square from 11am.

The union, civil organisations and legal tobacco manufacturers will use the mass action to convince Minister of Finance Nhlanhla Nene to stop “tobacco criminals”.

It started a campaign under the hashtag #NotJustAJob to highlight the plight of those who could be out of work should the illicit trading of tobacco persist without government intervention.

The union said the “tobacco criminals” were raking in billions in unpaid taxes by selling cheap and fake cigarettes in South Africa.

Union spokesperson John Dominique said: “We'd like individuals to join our march and fight this illegal trade of goods as it affects us all.

“When we lose billions due to smuggled goods, the economy suffers and jobs in the legal and tax compliant industry are negatively impacted.”

Illegal and fake products also threatened the health of smokers because the manufacturers were not always safety compliant, he said.

“The only way to to combat this crime is to take an active stand. We need to fight crime together and demand action from government."

Metro Police spokesperson Senior Superintendent Isaac Mahamba warned the march could affect traffic adversely. Affected roads are Es’kia Mphahlele, Cowie, Princess Park, Kgosi Mampuru, Sophie de Bruyn, Bosman, Struben, Johannes Ramokhoase, Pretorius, Francis Baard and Nana Sita.

Pretoria News