Cigarette ban will be lifted said President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday.
Ramaphosa said the cigarette ban will be lifted but he did not say when exactly this will be.
He interacted with the public in a virtual imbizo, a public participation platform, where communities can interact directly with the government; on Wednesday evening.
After Ramaphosa’s short address, the very first caller asked when the ban on cigarette sales will be lifted.
Ramaphosa said the nation would not be in lockdown forever and that while the ban on cigarettes remains in place, it will with time be lifted. Ramaphosa said, “We will not be in lockdown forever. So the ban on cigarettes will be lifted.”
Ramaphosa was also asked about the rationale of unbanning alcohol sales.
He said the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) discussed this extensively and thought that the alcohol ban should be lifted at Level 3.
The question on the cigarette ban comes at a time when the North Gauteng High Court last week dismissed a court challenge by the Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association (Fita) which was seeking to get the government to overturn its decision to ban the sale of cigarettes and declare it an essential service.
When asked by another caller on the rationale behind the reopening of schools which has been opposed, Ramaphosa responded that while lives need to be protected, livelihoods also need to be protected and the academic year needed to continue.
Ramaphosa said, “The reality is that we could not remain under lockdown forever. People need to earn a living. Learners need to continue with their education. Businesses need to reopen to survive and for their staff to keep their jobs.”
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