Headline grabbing tobacco trader Adriano Mazzotti has been in the news lately, accused of being the force behind the current tobacco ban. He tells Checkpoint he's is not a cigarette smuggler and that in fact the ban is actually killing his business. Courtesy #DStv403
JOHANNESBURG - Headline-grabbing tobacco trader Adriano Mazzotti has been in the news lately, accused of being the force behind the current tobacco ban.
Mazzotti says he is not a cigarette smuggler and that in fact the ban is actually killing his business.
He also claims he and Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma have never been friends.
Mazzotti is a larger than life figure in the South African current affairs and political landscape and he’s no stranger to controversy
He was described by author Jacques Pauw as a politically connected “self-confessed” cigarette smuggler in the bestselling 2017 book The President’s Keepers.
Mazzotti’s notoriety would however reach a fever pitch during South Africa’s COVID-19 lockdown when he was blamed for government’s controversial decision to impose a ban on the sale of cigarettes and tobacco.
Pauw claimed in his book that Mazzotti gave Dlamini-Zuma election paraphernalia for 2017 ANC election campaign.
Mazzotti says that isn’t the true story and is adamant he only put Dlamini-Zuma’s campaign in touch with a T-shirt company that could offer them a more reasonable price.
Pauw stands by the contents of his book.
He told Checkpoint that there was no evidence of further links between them and added he did not believe the Minister was “in bed with Mazzotti or tobacco”.
For the full interview tune into Checkpoint tonight at 10pm on eNCA