Too soon to tell if govt winning war against illegal cigarettes - ISS

Criminal syndicates continue to sell alcohol and cigarettes illegally at exorbitant prices. This is according to the research by the Institute for Security Studies. #eNCA spoke to ISS Researcher, Richard Chelin.

JOHANNESBURG - The Institute for Security Studies says it's too early to tell if the government is winning the war against the illicit cigarette trade.

The ban on tobacco sales costs the country billions of rand in lost tax revenue.

READ: Judgment reserved in tobacco case

ISS researcher Richard Chelin says before the lockdown SARS estimated the loss, through illegal cigarette trade, at about R6 billion per year.
"Now, during the lockdown, the illicit trade has increased. The ban has increased the capacity to address that issue."

"Are they winning? Yes, they are making arrests. They are confiscating. They are doing the right things. They are making progress, but to say they are winning the fight is still to be seen."

READ: BATSA burns holes in tobacco ban

Judgment was reserved in British American Tobacco's court challenge of the ban on the sale of tobacco products.

The government defended the ban, saying it intends to curb the spread of the virus.