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South Africa wins lawsuit

30 Jun 2020. The South African government has won the lawsuit which was brought against it by FITA, after it decided to uphold the ban on cigarette sales, reported Bloomberg.

This ruling will mean that South African stores will be unable to sell cigarettes until further notice. The Pretoria High Court found that Cooperative Guidance and Traditional Affairs Minister, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, had “a firm rational basis” to include the prohibition of cigarettes in regulations to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. According to the report, the court called the decision a “properly considered rational decision intended to assist the state in complying with its responsibilities of protecting lives and thus curbing the spread of the Covid-19 virus and preventing a strain on the country’s health-care facilities.”

The legal claim was originally filed by the Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association (FITA) and was dismissed with costs. FITA had argued that tobacco should be considered essential, due to its addictive nature, but, according to the report, the court responded, “Simply because a good is addictive it does not necessarily follow that it is therefore necessary for human survival or required for basic human functionality.” British American Tobacco Plc has also begun legal proceedings against the tobacco ban, alongside Japan Tobacco Inc., but the court hearing has been postponed until August.