Cigarette ban legal arguments were heard in the Pretoria High Court on Wednesday, June 10. Judge President Mlambo presided over the proceedings. Basically, The Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association’s (Fita) presented a case that the tobacco ban is invalid. SC Subel appeared for FITA. During the hearing, Judge Mlambo said that the government’s SC, Marumo Moerane tested his patience.
Cigarette ban Judge seems impatient with legal team rep for Pres & Minister Dlamini-Zuma
While the hearing went forward, “Judge President Mlambo said to Moerane SC: “Mr. Moerane I’ve been very patient with you, can we get to the decision of why the ban was decided on.” That quote came thanks to Heidi Giokos who patiently extracted the main points on Twitter as the case progressed.
The case, available on YouTube unfortunately presented rather poor quality sound mainly due to the wearing of masks behind the bench. In a further tweet, Heidi noted that the Judge President also said to the SC for gov & Cogta: “You are testing my patience. Don’t tell us to read, make your submission and counter them but not by making us read.'”
Court judgment won’t happen in an open court – Twitter reacts
After lunch, Judge President Mlambo announced the cases will be considered. But, the court judgment takes place outside of an open court. For now, everyone awaits the outcome of that. But naturally, people took to social media and talked about it. One wit commented, “That was a stressfull session for NDZ and her team. even i smoked a few gwaais stressing for them.”
One very astute person tweeted “Imagine how the patience of South African smokers has been tested by the illogical cigarette ban.” While that seems like a rather apt comparison, undoubtedly, smokers grow weary of the ongoing ban. After all, President Cyril Ramaphosa mentioned the availability of cigarettes but then backtracked on it. Frustrated smokers trended the #cigaretteban hashtag and maintain their voice to this day.
People comment after the closed court judgement
It’s not clear when the court judgment happens. Some people seem very hopeful it comes sooner rather than later. After all, many smokers already said what this tweeter pointed out, “Every township is filled with illegal cigarettes…Our fellow brothers and sisters are killing themselves with these cigarettes.” While smokers seem easily able to obtain illegal cigarettes, most of them complain that the high tar and nicotine content’s irritating their lungs.
Similarly, another tweeter agreed, writing, “I think the #CigaretteBan is encouraging people to buy illegal cigarettes… And that is probably worse for our people.” The cost, which skyrocketed also places a burden on families with low incomes. As Subel SC argued during the hearing, apart from that, the ban seems like a “sledgehammer to beat people into submission.” He also noted that it forces people to go into “cold turkey on smoking.” As people are “desperate,” for smokers, it’s an “act of cruelty.”
What do you think about the cigarette ban hearing? Are you surprised that the SC for the government seemed to test the patience of Judge President Mlambo? The judge is definitely unlikely to allow that to influence the outcome of his judgment, but many smokers know the feeling of patience being tested.
Many people think the ban’s an “act of cruelty.” Do you agree? Sound off your thoughts in the comments below.
Remember to check back with SAns Newsfeed for more news about the cigarette ban.