Co-operative governance & traditional affairs (Cogta) minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma will follow a “public participation process” should there be a renewed ban on the sale of tobacco products during the lockdown.
The Fair-Trade Independent Tobacco Association (Fita) said on Wednesday that this undertaking was part of a negotiated settlement in which it had agreed to drop its legal challenge against government over the tobacco sales ban.
“Over the course of the last week, our legal representatives have been engaged in settlement negotiations with the office of the state attorney acting on behalf of both the minister of co-operative governance & traditional affairs as well as the president of the Republic of SA,” Fita chairperson Sinenhlanhla Mnguni said on Wednesday.
The negotiations were conducted “with a view to settling the issues still in dispute in respect of our ongoing court challenge of the cigarette sales ban during the lockdown. The challenge is now before the Supreme Court of Appeal”.
Fita said the parties had now agreed that:
• Dlamini-Zuma undertakes that, should she seek to reinstate a temporary prohibition on the sale of tobacco and related products at any stage in the future, she would follow a public participation process.
• Any invitation to or announcement of a consultation process would be issued publicly. Fita and other interested parties would be free to participate in that process. This did not happen when the initial ban was implemented.
• Fita would withdraw its appeal and the parties each pay their own costs of litigation in the high court and Supreme Court of Appeal.
• Any future decision regarding the prohibition on the sale of tobacco and related products, if any, would be taken in accordance with the law.
“We trust the above to be in order and wish to thank all those who have supported our organisation and its fight to have the ban on the sale of cigarettes and tobacco-related products lifted,” Mnguni said.