JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – Smokers who expected to be able to buy cigarettes under the new level 4 lockdown regulations governing have been left disappointed after Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma announced that the ban on the sale of tobacco products will remain in place.
Dlamini-Zuma on Wednesday night said that government had received thousands of public comments opposing the sale of cigarettes and alcohol. She said that government had made the decision based on the health benefits of refrainig from smoking during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The minister also stressed that the ban on alcohol sales has had tangible results, with a marked decrease in incidents of violent crime and domestic violence.
“Our hospitals are not filled with people who have been stabbed, raped, shot, etc, so doctors are able to concentrate on seeing people who are sick – especially with the coronavirus,” Dlamini-Zuma said.
She also warned that people brewing alcoholic beverages at home would not be allowed to share those with friends or neighbours.
Last week, a 27-page discussion document was circulated for public comment after President Cyril
Ramaphosa announced the easing of the national lockdown.
Among the proposals which received a lot of attention was the lifting of the ban on cigarette sales. The tobacco industry had also been aggressively lobbying for the ban to be lifted.