Police Sgt Maimela Hezekiel Mailula got released on bail of R1,000 after being caught by Polokwane Police with illegal cigarettes in his vehicle, according to an article in Times Live. The cigarettes, from Zimbabwe, have an estimated street value of over R350 000.00. As Zimbabwean smugglers rush to deliver cigarettes into South Africa illegal sales flourish. This is the result of the current controversial COVID-19 ban. And everyone, including policemen, climb onto the bandwagon.
Police Sgt’s arrest is no surprise
The COVID-19 cigarette ban in South Africa seems equivalent to finding gold for Zimbabwean smugglers as Illegal cigarettes flood across the Limpopo river. According to an article in The Guardian, Peter, a 38-year-old Beitbridge smuggler says he cannot keep up with demand from South Africa in “these exciting times“. Norman, 40, says the selling price tripled and the risks involved with smuggling make the payoffs profitable.
As a result of the cigarette sales ban, the Beitbridge border post experienced an increase in smuggling activity.
The border between South Africa and Zimbabwe gained a reputation as notoriously porous. A Malawian gardener suggests that almost everyone knows that border officials direct illegal immigrants to a spot downriver. Here twenty people pack into a single taxi at R 2 000.00 per head, for transportation to Johannesburg. No passports required. On 21st June, Carte Blanche covered the gaping holes in the 25km fence between the two countries.
Cigarette ban remains in place in South Africa
South Africa remains the only country in the world continuing with a cigarette sales and smokers openly buy illegal cigarettes on the black market.
Smokers feel outraged at being treated like children. They and taxpayers express their anger over revenue loss. Estimates of the losses sit at around R35million per month. An amount far too high in the economically stressed country.
Smokers plan a protest sit-in outside Parliament on July 8th will you join them? Are you a smoker who quit under COVID-19’s ban? As a nonsmoker are you happy with the current ban? Have your say below.
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