President Cyril Ramaphosa clarified the decision-making process around the non-sale of tobacco products on Monday.This comes after sections of society implied that Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma had arbitrarily gazetted the ban.
According to the president the decision was rescinded after the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) consulted medical experts and various role-players. Previously Ramaphosa had announced that the sale of tobacco products would be allowed when the country moved to level four of the nationwide lockdown. However, the ban sale of cigarettes still remains.
“After careful consideration and discussion, the NCCC reconsidered its position on tobacco. As a result, the regulations ratified by Cabinet and announced by Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma on 29 April extended the prohibition,” said Ramaphosa.
The president indicated that the decision was a collective one that came after public comments were received from citizens arguing for reconsideration on tobacco sale.
“This was a collective decision and the public statements by both myself and the Minister were done on behalf of, and mandated by, the collective I lead,” said Ramaphosa.
He added and said that over the past five weeks, most South Africans have adhered to the lockdown regulations and thus the country had slowed the spread of the virus.
“That is why the easing of the lockdown needs to be gradual and cautious,” said Ramaphosa.
Ramaphosa further said that many regulations need to remain in place as means to contain the spread of the virus.
“It is for this reason that many regulations need to remain in place and why it is absolutely essential that people observe them, “said Ramaphosa.