News24

Campaign against illegal cigarettes

2010-12-02 11:07

Cape Town - Cigarette manufacturer British American Tobacco has launched an unbranded campaign to limit the trade in illegal and counterfeit cigarettes in SA.

"We've been working with government for many years and we account for 85% of the legitimate market, but the illegal trade undermines our business and supports organised crime," BAT spokesperson Fay Kajee told News24.

The campaign will have a strong consumer education focus and retailers are aware of illegal and counterfeit cigarettes, she said.

"If product (pack of 20) is sold for less than R13.60, it's probably illegal and these are huge crime syndicates, not some small scale guy operating out of his garage.

"There are fines for retailers and the illegal trade makes up about 25% of the trade in South Africa. That's about 6.3 billion sticks."

Telltale signs

She said most of the illegal cigarettes come across South Africa's porous borders with Zimbabwe and threaten the legitimate market.

"The illegal product is mostly manufactured in Zimbabwe - it's our biggest problem. Big retailers are guilty from time to time, but it's mostly big wholesalers selling the product to smaller retailers."

Telltale signs of illegal cigarettes include the cost, misplaced or missing health warnings and non-compliant levels of tar and nicotine, the company said.

"There's no pussy-footing around this: Organised crime is ugly and illicit trade fuels crime with guns, drugs and hijackings," said Kajee.

BAT says that there are about six million smokers in SA, and that the campaign is designed to make the public aware of the relationship between crime and the illicit trade.

The campaign will be above the line, and Kajee said it will cost an estimated R8m to R10m.

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Comments
  • cajokata - 2010-12-02 11:30

    Its another case of the rich wanting to be richer. Dear BAT. Not all of us south africans can afford the nearly R30 for cigarettes.We all know what it costs to manufacture one packet of cigarettes. And you sell it for ten times more. Shame on you for wanting to further bully the Poorer south african community.

      Ek_Daai - 2010-12-02 11:45

      Agree

      Francois - 2010-12-02 14:04

      ja I agree

      LJ Graey - 2010-12-02 16:03

      Well actually quite a chunk of that R30 you're worried about goes to our government in the form of tax. It's thanks to them that the prices are so high, not the manufacturers.

      echo_pta - 2010-12-03 08:38

      Yes, most of it is goverment taxes. If they want us to stop buying illegal cigs its about time they start making the prices fair. I started smoking 10 years ago when the price for a decent box was R 9.50, Now I'm paying R28.00 for the same box. Its beyond crazy

      Janaman - 2010-12-03 09:54

      let me help explain how this situantion would be sorted... lets say it costs (before tax)R 5.00 per box, the government says, "hay you guys are selling something that is harmful to our comunities heath, so we will pretend to care and force you to up your price so less people buy smokes" then there is a flat tax (sin) of R 15.00 per box added. now the government is happily making money out of someone elses product. and if they understood elasticity of demand they would know that raising the price of an inelastic product doesn't have an effect on the demand, it just creates two problems... black market trade, which is untaxed and a third of the price or reducing the desposible income of our community. the perseption is that BAT are suffering but the meatless bone gets sent on to the consumers!

      Kyle_logan - 2010-12-07 08:32

      Here's a better AD for BAT, "buy from us to get cancer and ruin your families health"... F*CKERS cant advertise their product anymore so no they traget illegal cigarette to get around the ban on advertising... poor BAT unpet because their cancer sticks are loosing out to other cancer sticks...

  • Sydney - 2010-12-02 11:39

    I say, campaign again all forms of cigarret smoking...legal cigarret are no less dangerous than illegal ones. Your body doesn't need this crap, that destroys your lungs, vocals and giving you cancer at the end. BAN CIGARRET SMOKING, AND SAVE BILLIONS OF LIVES ACROSS THE GLOBE!!

      roderickforbes90 - 2010-12-02 13:21

      SPELL check MY BROTHER

  • U1 - 2010-12-02 11:44

    And "legal" sigarettes are fine? You can't even make sums. BAT supply 85% of the market and the illegals 25%? Hell, you can only get 100% of the market! What are you smoking? The only reaon I believe they want to get the "illegals" out is to increase their profits.

      Mark - 2010-12-02 14:38

      85% of the legal market. I.e. 85% of the 75% that is legal.

      Chrismicro305 - 2010-12-07 02:05

      He is not smoking hes snuff VIM

  • Francois - 2010-12-02 11:52

    Cajokata, it is actually not a case of the rich wanting to be richer, it is a case of illegal producers of cigarettes robbing the state of taxes thus less tax money for the fiscus. Ah sorry - it will give the ANC cadres more money to steal - thus it is the rich ANC cronies wanting to be richer! And BAT you are helping them???? BAT, if you can pick up illegal cigarettes from Zimbabwe, can you not also do us a favour and pick up the illegal immigrants and illegal presidents from Zimbabwe as well? Racist Mbeki and Grootbaas Zuma - give us the Kamphephe report and as well as the findings that the 2002 Zim election was flawed, please. And then cajokata, if you cannot afford a legal packet of cigarettes, stop smoking! It is bad for you.

      Nebula - 2010-12-02 15:15

      Pacific is a growing brand in Zim, BAT has totally been ousted by the Pacific brand in Zim. So there is fear that the monopoly BAT had on the market is soon to be thwarted. So what does BAT do instead-attack the competition by calling it illegal... The SADC region (SA excl.) is fast becoming a Pacific consumer hotspot. These are the things not reported in the annual reports.

      roxxstarr - 2010-12-13 12:21

      C-O-M-P-E-T-I-T-I-O-N

  • jujudilema - 2010-12-02 11:54

    The world would be so much better of if everyone just stopped smoking! Just think about it!

      Sizwe - 2010-12-02 12:41

      And even better if they stopped driving diesel and petrol cars, oh wait don't forget coal fired electricity powerplants, the mines and other industry, in fact lets all go back to the stone age and have a cleaner environment....

      rudicsr - 2010-12-02 15:11

      hahahahahaaa!Sizwe,these anti smokers always forget about how they contribbute to bad air...Government can't stop big business like coal mine manufacturers or alluminium factories but they can make their citizens pay heavy taxes on cigarettes,big enjined vehicles etc.I think they are both evil.They would rather invest in war or their Swiss bank accounts than start to REALLY invest in creating a cleaner earth.Cigarettes and booze will always be around,America had some of their best parties during prohibition.

  • K-NINE - 2010-12-02 11:57

    BAH!! The tobacco industry keeps producing and selling their Rat Poison to the public. Now they want exclusive rights produce this killer weed. It is damn immoral for them to do so, as well as the government sharing in the booty via huge taxation!

      Francois - 2010-12-02 12:49

      K - Nine, go on holiday - you seemed stressed. There is compitition in the Tobacco Industry and this industry needs regulation, because as you state it they produce killer weed. The fact is nobody forces anybody to smoke and to continue smoking. The huge taxation from government is to offset the cost government has in dealing with smoking related illness as well as to deter people from smoking. Government cannot force people not to farm tobacco, because it will result in job losses and less money for Grootbaas Zuma to steal in the Arms deal.

      John - 2010-12-02 13:17

      Dear Francois, some of the smokers have medical aids so they get private treatment. For goverment related treatment I think it is next to nothing. When was the last time you went to a goverment hospital?

      Francois - 2010-12-02 21:21

      Dear John, the fact that goverment (sorry I had to use your spelling) treatment is next to nothing, is not the fault of the cigarette companies, but it is the fault of goverment, just as the lack of schooling is and the lack of clean water. The fact is that there is a sin tax on cigarettes and government is suppose to use it for better health care. If smokers can afford medical aids AND cigarettes, it is up to them. The fact that other cannot does not give them the right to not pay taxes - that is essentially why contraband cigarettes are so cheap - they have heavy taxes. One cannot out of your own decide what taxes you do not want to pay, except for sin tax and that you do by quitting smoking, not by doing something illegal that robs the state of income. If we can choose to not pay the taxes that do not benefit us, then I do not want to pay tax for eduation, because I do not have children, also not for defence, because we do not have an army with proper functional weapons that can assist in securing a peaceful election in Zim, nor Foreign relations, because we side with child rapists in Zim, nor water, because our water system is close to collapsing, nor public enterprises, because I don't think we must sponsor the SAA to beat real entreperneurs, Police, because too many farmers and rhinos are killed. Fact is I pay and the smokers must pay. That is the rule of law.

  • themantshepo - 2010-12-02 11:58

    then make your smokes cheaper.... i bought a pack on tens yesterday cost me 17 bucks... i used to pay 17 bucks for a pack of 20.... your prices should come down down down a pack of 20s sould not cost me more than 15 bucks which is what i currently pay for my so called illegal smokes

      Zoolie - 2010-12-02 12:22

      its not BAT that takes the bigger cut my man, it`s the goverment that adds on taxes every year they take probarly half of what your paying at the moment

      Francois - 2010-12-02 12:44

      Tshepo - you have just relinquished any right you have under the rule of law, because when you needed to choose between a bargain and a principle, you chose the bargain. Thus if one day you are caught in a speed trap and the officer offers you a bribe, you are going to choose the bargain and not the principle. Everyone out there, watch out for Tshepo, he wants anarchy!

      Brendon - 2010-12-02 22:11

      name of brand please Tshepo, Im changing smokes, ANARCHY RULES

      Francois - 2010-12-02 23:56

      Brendon, great name for a brand! Anarchy! Great stuff - now stop smoking, it is not good for you.

  • Sadness - 2010-12-02 12:12

    Sorry BAT, but what you are selling is tantamount to organised crime. You are selling a product that knowingly kill the user and innocent bystanders through active and passive smoking. Your company should be hounded out of existence

  • wdcs67 - 2010-12-02 13:17

    We dont want anarchy... But we also want cheaper products.. Fact.. I buy a pack of illegally imported cigs in my town for R 5.00 as opposed to R 28.50 for a normal SA pack. How does Zim get to produce it cheaper. Just imagine the profit that BAT is making on our local brands. Instead of pumping millions into this campaign, they could be pumping those millions into bringing their prices down. (and they cant blame it all on the TAX man either)..

      Brendon - 2010-12-02 22:12

      wait, yours are cheaper, name of brand pwease?

  • evilsheepclone47 - 2010-12-02 13:43

    JUST STOP SMOKING. You'll be doing yourself a favor. I have and so should you.

  • Brad - 2010-12-02 13:53

    Screw smoking. Drink beer instead!

  • Nebula - 2010-12-02 14:14

    Its not about people stopping smoking, Its how BAT is losing its market to competitors... banning illegal ciggies is basically saying "we are coming for our competitors" The pacific brand is actually growing and BAT has lost markets. So any ciggie thats not of BAT brand is illegal...

  • Nicko Minaj - 2010-12-02 14:24

    Alcohol and cigarettes are legal killer drugs. Legalize sensimilla

      Clive Schmuck - 2010-12-08 15:50

      HELLS YEAH!!!! BEST COMMENT BY FAR!!!!!!!!!!

  • King Dean - 2010-12-02 14:40

    Stupid people do stupid things... Whether you pay 5 or 30 bucks for a pack of ciggies you're still an idiot...

  • FatMole - 2010-12-02 15:04

    I saw a sign on the way into the city from the airport this morning. It said something like "the profits from illegal cigaretts might be used to buy guns". So just like our tax money then?

  • JokerCT - 2010-12-02 16:21

    you all are a bunch of imbeciles. If you guys took your time and actually understood what you read in the newspaper, you might have something of note to post here. Cigarettes is going to be here as long as the human being exist, just as beer will too. True, BAT makes a healthy profit each year, but the government regulates the duty on them and trust me, when I say they take a huge chunk from BAT. The government raises the cigarette price twice a year and BAT once. Come budget time, the government is smiling from head to toe for the revenue he is going to get from cigarettes. These fakes/duty free/illegal cigarettes do not belong in this country. Nor do any illegal immigrants of any kind. We are not seeing this, but the future in SA is looking really bleak, because once these immigrants settle here, its their kids who are going to compete with your kids for a job one day. They come here masses without any form of civilisation and we are just allowing them to be arrogant in our country. That is the honest truth and I fear if something is not done soon, this country is doomed. With regard to the cigarettes, why should half of this country's residents pay duty on cigarettes(be it the consumer/seller/wholesaler) and the other be exempted from all forms of duty? I say, just ban all forms of illegality, be it the cigarette, fire arm, drugs or the bloody human. Peace

  • JokerCT - 2010-12-02 17:12

    you all are a bunch of imbeciles. If you guys took your time and actually understood what you read in the newspaper, you might have something of note to post here. Cigarettes is going to be here as long as the human being exist, just as beer will too. True, BAT makes a healthy profit each year, but the government regulates the duty on them and trust me, when I say they take a huge chunk from BAT. The government raises the cigarette price twice a year and BAT once. Come budget time, the government is smiling from head to toe for the revenue he is going to get from cigarettes. These fakes/duty free/illegal cigarettes do not belong in this country. Nor do any illegal immigrants of any kind. We are not seeing this, but the future in SA is looking really bleak, because once these immigrants settle here, its their kids who are going to compete with your kids for a job one day. They come here masses without any form of civilisation and we are just allowing them to be arrogant in our country. That is the honest truth and I fear if something is not done soon, this country is doomed. With regard to the cigarettes, why should half of this country's residents pay duty on cigarettes(be it the consumer/seller/wholesaler) and the other be exempted from all forms of duty? I say, just ban all forms of illegality, be it the cigarette, fire arm, drugs or the bloody human. Peace

  • hemant230778 - 2010-12-02 17:33

    Is the taxpayer going to pay this 8 - 10 million Rand to protect the Cigarette barons????

  • Leone - 2010-12-02 20:34

    Interesting how BAT now takes the beating for "selling killer weed / smoking should be banned / BAT is exploiting the market and killing competition" etcetc ... Where are the comments about the illegal trade? Do we condone the illegal trade because we do not like the product? Smoking is a choice - no one forces you to do it - so lets focus on the issue here! Cigarettes are NOT good for you - we know that - it is expensive - we hate that - but let us not pretend more crime is OK because of that!

      johey24 - 2010-12-27 21:43

      As a small businessman adding a mere 10+14% margin to my floor, my experience in small town SA is as follows. As a VAT registered trader, I used to sell these illegal cigs after getting them from legitimate VAT registered wholesalers. I slept at night knowing that at least I was giving my 14% to the Govt AND paying a legal wage to 4 employees. Now BAT has clamped down on the legit Wholesaler and thus denied me and other small LEGAL guys the product - thus denying the Govt their 14%. However, and this is the crux of the problem .... .... the Somalian up the road and the Chinese trader around the corner who are NOT paying VAT are still getting the product from Who Knows Where - still not paying their 14% VAT and then, to add insult to injury, sending the legit VAT invoices they get from S'African wholesalers back to Lesotho and Zim, claiming the 14% VAT they did NOT pay here as per invoice back from those countries as well - making a tidy 28 profit without even adding a cent of profit to their products on their floors. This is basis of how they make money whilst selling goods at prices below cost - by defrauding the VAT system. The result: more South African, legit, VAT paying businesses are going out of business with illegal foreigners reaping the benefit of lax policing which equates to less VAT being paid to Govt, less roads maintained, less schools built, less nurses employed - should I go on? No wonder we have a so-called xenophobic problem in esp small towns.

  • dougmayger - 2010-12-02 20:51

    We are supposed to live in a democratic world where we have freedom of choice. Therefore if a person wishes to to smoke that is their business - keep your noses out of it, providing it is not up your nose. As regards the prices - I find it difficult to believe that you are able to buy the "lesser" brands at R 15/16 while you need to fork out R25 for the :known" brands - me thinks that the monopoly does not like competition!

  • Brendon - 2010-12-02 22:03

    ''Telltale signs of illegal cigarettes include the cost, misplaced or missing health warnings'', woah! these are so much cooler, where I do get some???

  • johns54 - 2010-12-03 06:03

    I wonder what the scientist would find if they spent the same amount of time, effort and money on investigating the health problems caused by industrial polution!!! I sincerely believe the results would be astounding!

      vstadens - 2010-12-03 08:02

      They might find more arsenic containing bacteria.. Or maybe something better.. A cure for cancer.. Then we can all live in peace!!

  • sadave - 2010-12-03 10:53

    dis nog tans cheep mense ek woon in engeland and wow guys they are 5 pound 50 a pack here work that one out lol

  • Shadoz - 2010-12-07 09:38

    hey i think we should get a decent black market going to stomp out these damn high prices of our goverment and there big heads that started us smoking in the first place.

  • Brett Bruton - 2010-12-09 09:00

    Agree with Cajokata. Cigs are absurdly expensive as it is. The quickest and best way for BAT to lower the illegal trade is to work with the government to lower cost and sin tax on cigs. So long as the prices are so hight, less affluent people are always going to go for the cheaper option. And to think that higher prices will lead to less smokers is nearsighted. Smokers are smokers. Prices won't make them quit, it has to be a personal choice. And for new smokers, who never paid the earlier, cheaper prices, R30 will be considered an acceptable cost for a luxury, like buying a cocktail. Higher prices encourage illegal trade, simple as that.

  • vlady - 2010-12-10 13:37

    all the more reason to stop smoking.. it does not contribute to your health in any way and is a costly habit.. i didi it! woohoo!!

  • john.davies.uk - 2010-12-24 10:13

    “Blood Tobacco” ... ? South Africa is now in the grip of Big Tobacco’s latest campaign to scare society into continuing to accept as tobacco as its preferred addictive drug of choice. The current campaign tries to differentiate between “illegal” tobacco, as a driver for racist crimes by dangerous black men upon white women and “legal” tobacco that apparently does not result in such social catastrophe. This presents the tobacco problem as “illegal” cigarettes rather than any other problem that might be the consequence of tobacco use. Big Tobacco is contending that unknown and organised criminal forces are assailing our society with “illegal” cigarettes. They then present a narrative that contends that from the profits of these “illegal” cigarettes; black men will acquire guns that they will then use to shoot white women. South Africa might be interested to know how this narrative is so well known to Big Tobacco, and how Big Tobacco can be so sure that the profits of “illegal” cigarettes lend themselves so easily to the acquisition of guns and bloody murder. Big Tobacco has a history of being involved in the smuggling supply chain by which Big Tobacco supplies huge numbers of cigarettes into low tax markets with reportedly the full knowledge that these cigarettes are then smuggled into higher tax areas for large profits. Cigarettes, including brands that are unknown or hardly used in some low tax markets are exported by the million into those markets by Big Tobacco, within days or weeks these same cigarettes appear in high tax markets as “illegal” cigarettes. If Big Tobacco wanted to drastically reduce the number of “illegal” cigarettes it could simply stop the oversupply of its products into insecure markets. However there are substantial benefits to Big Tobacco from the smuggling of its own products into high tax markets. Cheaper “illegal” cigarettes reduce the financial barrier to entry for new smokers and these cigarettes also become the basis of an argument that says to Government that increases in tobacco taxes promotes the smuggling of “illegal” cigarettes and associated violent crime. Therefore Big Tobacco argues that taxes should be reduced or not increased. Consequentially the financial barrier to entry for new smokers is mitigated and Big Tobacco keeps its products affordable to a new generation of the young. The connection between “illegal” cigarettes and guns is so well known to Big Tobacco because during the last Balkan war, the oversupply of Big Tobacco products into the Former Yugoslavia war zone and their consequential smuggling to Western Europe was used to fund various political as well as criminal groups. These criminal groups were able to buy guns to become increasingly well armed militias who also often operated as death squads. The activities of Big Tobacco in the former Yugoslavia became the subject of various European Commission investigations that repeatedly exposed connections between Big Tobacco actions and the smuggling of cigarettes. During this conflict and times of UN embargo Big Tobacco fought and negotiated amongst its own members to maximise the profits from this war economy, this included a proposal to build a cigarette production facility in Serbia. Now we are confronted with the same simpering rhetoric that intends to deliver political and financial gains to Big Tobacco in South Africa, is it possible that this time the real power behind “illegal” cigarettes might be exposed? Dr. John Davies

  • john.davies.uk - 2010-12-24 10:13

    “Blood Tobacco” ... ? South Africa is now in the grip of Big Tobacco’s latest campaign to scare society into continuing to accept as tobacco as its preferred addictive drug of choice. The current campaign tries to differentiate between “illegal” tobacco, as a driver for racist crimes by dangerous black men upon white women and “legal” tobacco that apparently does not result in such social catastrophe. This presents the tobacco problem as “illegal” cigarettes rather than any other problem that might be the consequence of tobacco use. Big Tobacco is contending that unknown and organised criminal forces are assailing our society with “illegal” cigarettes. They then present a narrative that contends that from the profits of these “illegal” cigarettes; black men will acquire guns that they will then use to shoot white women. South Africa might be interested to know how this narrative is so well known to Big Tobacco, and how Big Tobacco can be so sure that the profits of “illegal” cigarettes lend themselves so easily to the acquisition of guns and bloody murder. Big Tobacco has a history of being involved in the smuggling supply chain by which Big Tobacco supplies huge numbers of cigarettes into low tax markets with reportedly the full knowledge that these cigarettes are then smuggled into higher tax areas for large profits. Cigarettes, including brands that are unknown or hardly used in some low tax markets are exported by the million into those markets by Big Tobacco, within days or weeks these same cigarettes appear in high tax markets as “illegal” cigarettes. If Big Tobacco wanted to drastically reduce the number of “illegal” cigarettes it could simply stop the oversupply of its products into insecure markets. However there are substantial benefits to Big Tobacco from the smuggling of its own products into high tax markets. Cheaper “illegal” cigarettes reduce the financial barrier to entry for new smokers and these cigarettes also become the basis of an argument that says to Government that increases in tobacco taxes promotes the smuggling of “illegal” cigarettes and associated violent crime. Therefore Big Tobacco argues that taxes should be reduced or not increased. Consequentially the financial barrier to entry for new smokers is mitigated and Big Tobacco keeps its products affordable to a new generation of the young. The connection between “illegal” cigarettes and guns is so well known to Big Tobacco because during the last Balkan war, the oversupply of Big Tobacco products into the Former Yugoslavia war zone and their consequential smuggling to Western Europe was used to fund various political as well as criminal groups. These criminal groups were able to buy guns to become increasingly well armed militias who also often operated as death squads. The activities of Big Tobacco in the former Yugoslavia became the subject of various European Commission investigations that repeatedly exposed connections between Big Tobacco actions and the smuggling of cigarettes. During this conflict and times of UN embargo Big Tobacco fought and negotiated amongst its own members to maximise the profits from this war economy, this included a proposal to build a cigarette production facility in Serbia. Now we are confronted with the same simpering rhetoric that intends to deliver political and financial gains to Big Tobacco in South Africa, is it possible that this time the real power behind “illegal” cigarettes might be exposed? Dr. John Davies

  • johey24 - 2010-12-27 21:46

    As a small businessman adding a mere 10+14% margin to my floor, my experience in small town SA is as follows. As a VAT registered trader, I used to sell these illegal cigs after getting them from legitimate VAT registered wholesalers. I slept at night knowing that at least I was giving my 14% to the Govt AND paying a legal wage to 4 employees. Now BAT has clamped down on the legit Wholesaler and thus denied me and other small LEGAL guys the product - thus denying the Govt their 14%. However, and this is the crux of the problem .... .... the Somalian up the road and the Chinese trader around the corner who are NOT paying VAT are still getting the product from Who Knows Where - still not paying their 14% VAT and then, to add insult to injury, sending the legit VAT invoices they get from S'African wholesalers back to Lesotho and Zim, claiming the 14% VAT they did NOT pay here as per invoice back from those countries as well - making a tidy 28 profit without even adding a cent of profit to their products on their floors. This is basis of how they make money whilst selling goods at prices below cost - by defrauding the VAT system. The result: more South African, legit, VAT paying businesses are going out of business with illegal foreigners reaping the benefit of lax policing which equates to less VAT being paid to Govt, less roads maintained, less schools built, less nurses employed - should I go on? No wonder we have a so-called xenophobic problem in esp small towns.

  • MP4 - 2011-01-23 00:46

    Murder of customs official ‘was a hit’ The murder of a senior customs investigator on Monday morning, shot dead in his own driveway, has confirmed fears that smuggling gangs are targeting officials in Durban. 18 January 2011 | PAUL KIRK null Current rating: 5 from 1 votes. DURBAN - The murder of a senior customs investigator has confirmed fears that smuggling gangs are targeting officials in Durban. Johan Nortje, who was shot and killed in his own driveway on Monday morning, had been charged with investigating the smuggling of counterfeit goods. He had also been involved in recent arrests and confiscations. At the time of his death, he had been working on a case involving an international smuggling syndicate dealing in counterfeit goods, including cigarettes and clothing. Two men were seen running away from the Nortje murder scene but only one man had fired shots. Police suspect the pair had a getaway car parked nearby. SA Revenue Service (SARS) spokesman Adrian Lackay told The Citizen that while Nortje had been a police official, he had worked closely with investigators from SARS. Lackay said it was suspected that Nortje’s murder had been a “hit”, and that customs officials were being targeted by smuggling syndicates. “We have decided that we do not wish to disclose too much information, as doing so might well increase the risk that our officials are facing. Late last year, a SARS official in Durban was shot and seriously wounded. This was the second time he had been attacked. There have been other incidents too. We believe that our officials are under threat,” he said. Unlike the police, most SARS officials are not routinely armed. Lackay said there were no plans to change this, but security was being improved. He added that after several high-profile busts, syndicates are believed to have targeted top customs and police officials. “Often they will first attempt to bribe officials. If that fails, then criminals may resort to violence. Security always has to be a consideration when conducting major investigations,” he said. Nortje had been a key investigator in “Operation Duty Calls”, which recently saw counterfeit goods worth over R120 million seized in Durban harbour. Before this, he had helped in a “sting” operation that netted an allegedly crooked transport company boss. After being offered a R40 000 bribe to release a container of seized goods, Nortje had set up a sting which saw a Durban businessman, Mervyn Naidoo, arrested. In the weeks before Nortje’s murder, at least two other attempts had been made on customs officials in Durban. Lackay said:“Security is always an issue. We are dealing with serious organised crime and Monday’s murder is not the first time that a SARS official has been attacked or targeted by criminals. The investigation into Nortje’s murder has been taken over by the Police Organised Crime Unit.

  • dirk.steyn - 2011-12-05 09:51

    The funny thing is the add running on 5fm about the stolen R3bil in tax because of illegal cigarettes. And that they are appealing to everyone to help and sign the petition because they can build how many houses? Get how many police officers?... etc., etc... So let me get this straight? I decide to smoke, I get frown upon by everyone, restaurants, clubs, non-smokers, but then they want to have their share form OUR contribution to the national tax. So technically the smokers should get better service, as they pay more tax!! Ha-ha like that would ever happen. I decided to smoke, like you decided not to smoke. If you don’t want to be around smokers, then leave and stop complaining! AND STOP TRYING TO GET YOUR SHARE IN SOMETHING THAT YOU AREN’T CONTRIBUTING TOWARDS!!!

  • terry.palmer.562 - 2013-01-12 04:09

    Marlboro in the Dominican Republic = 3.00 US Marlboro in New York 13.00 US

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