FITA given go-ahead to appeal cigarette ban

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(Photo: iStock)
(Photo: iStock)

The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) has granted the Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association (FITA) leave to appeal the ban on the sale of cigarettes under the current Covid-19 lockdown regulations.

The group, which represents local manufacturers, had directly approached the SCA to consider the matter after its appeal bid was turned down by the High Court in July.

The SCA granted the appeal on Friday.

FITA spokesperson Sinenhlanhla Mnguni said the organisation had always been of the view that Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma "acted irrationally in implementing the ban on cigarette and related products".

"We are confident that once the matter is fully ventilated at the Supreme Court of Appeal, that court would arrive at a different decision to the one made by the full bench of the High Court," he said.

"We have maintained that the merits of our case are strong."

The decision comes as President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to address the nation this weekend in a speech that is widely expected to provide guidance on the easing of lockdown regulations.

The court ruled that if FITA does not proceed with the appeal, it will bear the cost of the process.

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