The Fair Trade Tobacco Association says the latest legal setback in its fight to have the ban on the sale of tobacco products lifted was not unexpected and they will now take the matter to the Supreme Court of Appeal.
The Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, dealt smokers another blow on Friday when it dismissed, with costs, FITA’s application for leave to appeal an earlier judgment upholding the government’s ban on the sale of tobacco and vaping products.
FITA chairman Sinenhlanhla Mnguni said the company had been prepared for the dismissal and had studied the judgment.
“As things currently stand, we are in the process of preparing a petition to the Supreme Court of Appeal which we are hoping to file next week,” Mnguni said.
Advocate Arnold Stubel, for FITA, cited at least 10 grounds on which it claimed the court came to the wrong decision when it ruled against the lifting of selling cigarettes and related products.
FITA argued the court had erred in its approach to testing whether the government’s decision to impose the ban was “rational or rationally connected with the purpose for which the (Disaster Manangement Act) regulations may be promulgated”.
The court found that “the legislature drafted the Act in this manner for a reason: that different principles should apply when dealing with a local state of disaster versus when dealing with a national state of disaster”.
The highly contentious ban is also being challenged by British American Tobacco SA (BATSA). The case is expected to be heard in the Western Cape High Court in early August.