The Independent Fair Tobacco Association (Fita) officially presented its final findings to the Supreme Court of Appeal, as the group takes its final stand against a controversial and divisive smoking ban. This time, they are focusing most of their energy on the role played by Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
The country’s highest court will now consider arguments before rendering a decision on leave to appeal.
The last smoking ban – when will it end?
The COGTA minister has been appointed as head of the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC). It is up to him to announce changes to lockdown protocols and introduce new restrictions after Cabinet discusses them. This also includes the rollout of the smoking ban.
Dlamini-Zuma became synonymous with a tobacco ban in April, when she apparently rolled back Cyril Ramaphosa to extend the smoking ban – although the president promised it would be lifted. Although the head of state said he agreed with the minister, it was the first time that the extent of his powers had been questioned – and it certainly would not be the last.
Fita claims Dlamini-Zuma “has too much power”
Fita opted for the jugular in their affidavits. They say the authority given to Dlamini-Zuma is “unprecedented” and that a serious case of management overshoot occurred during the lockdown. NDZ has also been criticized for failing to provide the scientific backing needed to justify the smoking ban:
“The ban in question and in the context of the ministerial decree is unprecedented in South Africa and is currently not in place anywhere else in the world. Clear guidance from the courts is also urgently needed to prevent executive excesses. The cigarette ban has failed to stop people from smoking, so it has no basis.
“The minister is empowered to exercise significant public power for the foreseeable future. The reach of such power requires determination from the court of honor and the outcome of this appeal will impact the economy and the lives of many millions of South Africans.
“Dlamini-Zuma continued to ignore the need to give due and appropriate weight to issues of fundamental importance such as far-reaching economic, physical, psychological and social considerations. The investigations upon which the Minister relied were themselves without probative value and particularly unscientific and crude.
Fita’s argument before the Supreme Court of Appeal