South Africa alcohol and cigarette ban to be reviewed soon

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DA shadow trade minister Dean Macpherson has implored President Ramaphosa to ‘listen to the science’ and lift the respective alcohol and cigarette bans.

Prohibition, in some form or another, has been in place for the best part of 139 days – but it looks like a debate to end the restrictions is already taking place.

ALCOHOL, CIGARETTE BANS UNDER INTENSE SCRUTINY

Several reports this week have suggested that, despite initial hesitancy from ministers and Cabinet, the alcohol ban is facing an incredibly stiff challenge from both the Western Cape Government and the SA Medical Research Council. Both parties suggest the implementation of stricter laws around liquor sales, without actually banning the booze itself.

Meanwhile, the cigarette ban is at the centre of several legal rows. Last week, two separate cases were advanced by arguments against the enforcement of this crackdown on smoking. As the pressure from the courts increases on the government, the laws regarding tobacco sales are also likely to be reviewed. Several lockdown measures are expected to be relaxed at some point this week.

NEW LOCKDOWN RESTRICTIONS ‘TO BE CONFIRMED SOON’

Of course, this does not equate to any guarantees that either the alcohol or cigarette ban will be lifted. But it does show that the National Coronavirus Command Council is now listening to the opposing arguments – some of which are coming from sources incredibly close to home.

As Macpherson says , ‘science’ may force Ramaphosa’s hand:

“The continued ban on alcohol and tobacco sales will [allegedly] be discussed during a cabinet meeting this week. We’ve been told repeatedly that the government is being ‘led by science’ on both bans, yet the ‘science’ does not support them.”

“Cabinet is now in stark opposition to what our leading scientists are telling us, and that is to drop the bans on alcohol and tobacco immediately.”

“In truth, the biggest winners during this national debacle have been cigarette smugglers and liquor bootleggers who have made billions of Rands while the state has criminalised ordinary South Africans for buying cigarettes and alcohol. Whose side is the government really on? Only time will tell.”

Dean Macpherson

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