‘Allegation I influenced tobacco ban is outrageous,’ says cigarette trader
Cigarette trader Adriano Mazzotti has denied allegations that he “may have had an influence" on the government's decision to ban tobacco products during the lockdown for self gain".
According to News24, the cigarette trader released a statement on Monday night saying his involvement in an urgent court challenge to the government's cigarette ban makes it “obvious” that claims he is involved in the illicit trade of tobacco are “blatantly untrue”.
The Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association (Fita), to which Mazzotti belongs, is taking legal action to challenge the government’s ban on the manufacture, export and sale of cigarettes, as announced by co-operative governance minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
Dlamini-Zuma's statement contradicted President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement that the ban would be lifted when the country’s Covid-19 regulations were relaxed to level 4 at the end of April.
Ramaphosa has since denied that he had been undermined by Dlamini-Zuma's announcement and said that the national coronavirus command council had made a “collective decision” to continue the tobacco ban.