Coronavirus News Africa

Ban on cigarettes: Nothing ‘legally’ wrong with selling cigarettes, says Breytenbach

Former State prosecutor and current DA MP Glynnis Breytenbach has questioned the legality of the ban on the sale of cigarettes, saying that the regulations are open to interpretation. 

Breytenbach’s comments come after the minister of police Bheki Cele called out the Western Cape government for lifting the ban.

Cele lambasted the provincial administration for allowing the sale of cigarettes.

On Thursday, Cele urged businesses in the province “not to listen to people who tell them wrong things”, after the DA-led province said on Wednesday that cigarettes could be bought at supermarkets, along with essential goods.

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde has since written to President Cyril Ramaphosa for clarity on the proper interpretation of the lockdown regulations

READ | Premier Winde asks Ramaphosa for clarity on ‘vague’ regulations after Cele’s cigarette sales warning

During a DA web chat on the effects of the lockdown with DA interim leader John Steenhuisen, Breytenbach said the regulations were “rather ambivalent and open to interpretation”.

“In the Western Cape, cigarettes are being sold only when you buy groceries. I heard Minister Cele say that the Western Cape think they are above the law, and they can’t be doing this. I beg to differ.”

She added that there was “absolutely, legally, nothing wrong with what the Western Cape is doing”.

During an inter-ministerial briefing on Thursday, Cele warned that police would crack down on businesses found selling cigarettes, saying the ban during the lockdown applied countrywide, News24 reported.

He warned that no matter where residents were, cigarette sales were not allowed, and “that includes the Western Cape”.

Winde said there had been debate about how regulations were being interpreted, especially relating to what one could buy at shops.

“I want to make something very clear: All of us have one clear objective in mind – and one only: to stop the spread of Covid-19, and to collectively, as a country, help save lives.

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