Tobacco shop Sturks closed down due to lockdown

Image via: Sturk’s Tobacconists
Tobacco Store / Facebook

Sturks tobacco shop – established in 1793 – forced to close

The owner of Sturks tobacco shop said she could no longer afford rent during the lockdown and had to vacate the premises.

Tobacco shop Sturks closed down due to lockdown

Image via: Sturk’s Tobacconists
Tobacco Store / Facebook

Sturks tobacco shop in Greenmarket Square, Cape Town has been forced to shut its doors after 226 years. Established in 1793, the familiar shop has sold cigarettes, tobacco and all other related items for many years. Enter the lockdown and tobacco ban. 


In an interview with Lester Kiewit on Cape Talk, Sturks tobacco shop owner Diane Chakim, said the shop is an institution and the entire situation is very sad. 

Chakim said when the lockdown began in March, she and many other business owners were hopeful, thinking the tobacco ban would perhaps last a few weeks and nothing more. April came and went, then May and now we’re in June.  

“There’s just no light at the end of the tunnel. Illegal trade is booming, this affects not only my business but the country is losing out on billions in revenue. The people who are so addicted to smoking will pay anything. It’s evil,” she said. 

Chakim said the tobacco and cigarette ban will never work. 

“Smoking will always be around, the prohibition didn’t work, the ban didn’t work, it will never work. People want to smoke, I’m not a smoker anymore but it’s mind-boggling that our country is under the control….I don’t want to talk out of turn but I don’t think the decision has been made correctly,” she added. 

“I had to vacate my premises. I cannot afford to pay rent and not trade. I had to leave. The landlord tried to help but they can’t assist as much as we need them to,” she said. 

When asked if this is the end of the tobacco shop, Chakim said they are not “down and out”. 

“We will reappear, it depends when and where. Sturks will not go away and I will trade when [the] lockdown is lifted,” she added. 


Speaking of the lockdown and how it has affected many businesses and people in general, the High Court Gauteng Division, on Tuesday 2 June, said the lockdown regulations are unconstitutional.

Government has taken note of the judgement declaring the Alert Level 4 and Alert Level 3 lockdown regulations invalid. The court suspended the declaration of invalidity for a period of 14 days. 

This means that the Alert Level 3 regulations remain in operation for now. 

According to the judgement, the regulations pertaining to the prohibition on the sale of tobacco and related products is excluded from this order and is postponed, pending finalisation 

The court has further directed Cogta Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, in consultation with the relevant ministers, to review, amend and republish the regulations with “due consideration to the limitation each regulation has on the rights guaranteed in the Bill of Rights”.