Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs and Zweli Mhize, Health Minister, have refused to back down on the decision to ban the sale of tobacco products during the 3rd level of the national lockdown. The ministers insisted that it was the right move. Mkhize said that it would be a waste of time to debate the health risks of smoking, but admitted that the economic debate was a separate matter altogether. “If people want to debate the issue from a point of view of saying they’ve got businesses and so on, that’s a different matter. So in this case, there is no need for any peer review.” NDZ took the opportunity to defend accusations that she was linked to alleged illicit cigarette trader Adriano Mazzotti. “I must also put it on record, I am not Mazzotti’s friend, and secondly, if anyone is doing crime in South Africa, the must be arrested. Whatever crime it is, whether it is with cigarettes; they must be arrested,” she said. The ministers said that they would outline their position on the ban in detail when the matter went to court.
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