Cigarettes Alcohol

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Alcohol and tobacco: Govt fact-sheet shows ‘indefinite ban’ was planned

Yes, this again. An internal ‘fact sheet’ has revealed that indefinite alcohol and cigarette bans were on the agenda – and the ANC has made matters worse.

Cigarettes Alcohol

Photo: Unsplash

The greatest soap opera on Earth has entered a bizarre new episode. After Wednesday was dominated by rumours that the respective bans on alcohol and cigarette sales would be extended ‘for the entirety of lockdown’, the government moved to dismiss these claims – but the facts behind the matter have muddied the waters.

In trying to defend their actions, the ruling party has likely made it worse. ANC representative Phumla Williams said that a Tweet from the government’s official account – suggesting that there will be no booze or ciggies on the shelves until the lockdown is fully done with – was erroneous.

Alcohol and cigarettes – government has planned to ‘ban both indefinitely

Many of us breathed a sigh of relief – but now, it looks like exhales of frustration will be the order of Thursday. An internal government fact sheet has been made public, and lo and behold, it advocates for both products to be banned indefinitely. The document was shared onto Twitter by Sinenhlanhlna Mnguni:

Internal document reignites row over prohibition

The Chairperson of the Fair-Trade Independent Tobacco Association (Fita) wants answers. Williams issued a statement on the matter late last night, revealing that the fact sheet which outlined plans for the twin extensions of bans on alcohol and cigarettes was indeed an authentic, internal directive:

“The government fact sheet which was shared today forms part of an erroneous Tweet, which we withdrew this afternoon. Our fact sheets are internal documents that are not publicly shared. We therefore do not know how this particular document got into the public domain.”

Phumla Williams

It’s hard to know where to start with this frank admission, given that there is some knowledge of vital public interest that is being kept under wraps by the ANC. The DA’s Public Service Shadow Minister, Leon Schreiber, has branded Cabinet as ‘disgraceful cowards’ over their on-again, off-again proposals:

“So the story changed again – seems the initial tweet was never a ‘mistake’ and that the ANC will indeed ban alcohol and cigarettes ‘throughout the lockdown period?’ So destroying livelihoods is not enough, and they insist on also lying to the people? Disgraceful cowards.”

Leon Schreiber