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The Supreme Court of Appeal Grants FITA Leave to Appeal Tobacco Judgment

The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in Bloemfontein has granted the Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association (FITA) leave to appeal a judgment of the Pretoria High Court.

FITA has petitioned the SCA after the High Court dismissed its application for leave to appeal the judgment that the manufacturers’ organisation had failed to demonstrate that it had reasonable prospects of success.

The association is challenging lockdown regulations that prohibit the sale of tobacco products. It says Co-operative Governance Minister, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, has no powers to prohibit the sale of tobacco products.

FITA filed a petition at the SCA last Friday and the government has been directed to file answering affidavits by no later than this Friday. It has described the banning of tobacco sale products as a significant executive overreach.

The ban, FITA says, affects the health and welfare of more than 11 million smokers in the country, and that it continues to have far-reaching traumatic effects on smokers.

It argues that the ban has already had an enormous commercial impact on tobacco manufacturers and retailers. Accordingly, this has resulted in the illicit trade of cigarettes, which led to significant losses of tax revenue.

FITA says the High Court failed to consider uncontested expert medical evidence that the ban on tobacco sales has had a psychological impact on smokers.

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