cigarette ban fita

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South Africa: Today’s latest news and headlines, Wednesday 5 August

British American Tobacco South Africa does battle with government.

cigarette ban fita

Image via Adobe Stock

Stay informed and up to date with the latest news in South Africa by reviewing all major headlines on Wednesday 5 August.

As government launches yet another all-out defence to uphold the controversial tobacco ban — this time before the Western Cape High Court — the ruling African National Congress’ (ANC) leadership structures have been forced to confront the issue of rampant corruption which has siphoned coronavirus relief funds.


Cigarette ban to be debated in court

Industry behemoths, British American Tobacco South Africa (BATSA) will plead its case before the Western Cape High Court today in an attempt to overturn government’s controversial cigarette ban. The long-awaited trial, which was initially expected to be heard in July, has renewed hope amongst smokers, tobacco farmers, industry stakeholders and tax watchdogs alike.

President Cyril Ramaphosa and Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma — who, as leaders of the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC), have defended the ban amid an onslaught of legal challenges – recently filed court papers which, ironically, seem to undermine government’s fundamental arguments in support of prohibition.

Government was forced to admit that no evidence exists to show that smokers are at greater risk of contracting COVID-19.The case is expected to be heard on Wednesday and Thursday.

Meanwhile the Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association (Fita), which has, unsuccessfully, spearheaded the legal challenge aimed at determining government’s cigarette ban as unlawful and unconstitutional, has been handed a lifeline by the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) which has agreed to hear its case following a setback in the North Gauteng High Court.

ANC’s Magashule ‘outraged’ by covid corruption

The African National Congress (ANC) has condemned acts of corruption and financial mismanagement amid the burgeoning coronavirus pandemic. On Tuesday, the National Executive Committee (NEC) responded to damning allegations which have marred President Ramaphosa’s administration and further eroded public faith in the ruling party.

Secretary-General Ace Magashule confirmed that the NEC had convened to debate issues surrounding tender procurement processes, familial associations and steps to be taken by the party’s Integrity Commission. Magashule, whose own sons have been implicated in unduly benefiting from the coronavirus relief fund, added that Ramaphosa’s proclamation — which has allowed the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to delve deeper into the rot of corruption – had the party’s full support.

Recently, the ANC in Gauteng recalled Health MEC Bandile Masuku and Presidential Spokesperson Khusela Diko over a dubious tender awarded to Diko’s husband for the supply of R125 million worth of personal protective equipment.

International attention turns to human rights violations in Zimbabwe

Pressure is building on President Ramaphosa — in his role as Chair of the African Union — to address the issue of oppression in Zimbabwe. Recently, journalists, protesters and critics of President Emmerson Mnangagwa have been brutalised as the country descends deeper into chaos. Mnangagwa launched a crackdown following widespread anti-corruption protests in Harare.

Under Mnangagwa’s orders, the country’s security forces have been tasked with quelling any forms of dissidence by any means necessary. Facing a rising tide of scrutiny, an unapologetic Mnangagwa has vowed to ‘flush out’ his opponents.

Political parties in South Africa have called on President Ramaphosa to rally the African Union and call Mnangagwa to order.

Different timetables to help ensure social distancing at schools

Staffing and spacing is the biggest challenge that will face the public education sector when schools welcome all learners on 24 August 2020.

This is according to Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga who on Tuesday paid a visit to Eletsa Secondary School and Tshepagalang Secondary School in Letlhabile, Brits to monitor the return of Grade 12 learners to schools.

The visit follows a weeklong break following various calls in the education sector to suspend schooling as COVID-19 infections surged in the country.

Grade 12s returned to the classroom on Monday and will be followed by the Grade 7s who will return to class on 10 August.

All other grades will return to school on 24 August 2020, after nearly a month’s break from 27 July.

“For now there is space and there is not much really. The problems are going to come after the 24th.

When learners come back we won’t have enough space to ensure physical distancing so we are going to have to use differentiated timetables which are going to be either daily rotations because we can’t all be here at the same time every day, there won’t be enough space for all of them to safely distance,” said the Minister.

To manage the challenge of space, Motshekga said schools will implement a rotational timetable to allow for adequate social distancing in line with the recommended health protocols. (Source: SAnews)


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