File: Fita and other cigarette manufacturers now have some assurances from Cogta Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
JOHANNESBURG - An application for leave to appeal by the Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association (Fita) on the ban on the sale of tobacco products is before the Pretoria High Court on Wednesday.
The case was presented via Zoom. Fita stated a bench of three judges erred in its decision to agree with the government that a ban should be in place.
The same three judges that dismissed the previous application will decide whether or not the judgment can be appealed.
Fita argues that they are not disputing that smoking is harmful or dangerous, but are requesting clarity on the link between smokers and COVID-19 putting a strain on the healthcare system.
The association's lawyer Arnold Subel said the argument concerns whether the matter has reasonable prospects of success in a higher court and will set out ten grounds that will justify their arguments.
Fita argued that the medical evidence used to justify the tobacco ban from the WHO and HSRC by government is inconclusive, and to date the government's legal team has not responded to it.
He said that a higher court will also have to determine whether or not the illicit market has blossomed since the ban came into effect and if it can be said, that the ban has lead to a cessation of smoking.
Subel said insufficient weight was within the judgment. He said only when absolutely necessary a ban should be imposed, especially because there is insufficient evidence to support the rational around the ban.
Subel said there is a reasonable prospect that the Supreme Court of Appeal would find a different finding on the ban on the sale of tobacco products.
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