‘Powers’ given to Dlamini-Zuma under scrutiny

‘Powers’ given to Dlamini-Zuma under scrutiny

The Fair-Trade Independent Tobacco Association (Fita) has officially made their final submissions to the Supreme Court of Appeal, as the group takes its last stand against a contentious and divisive cigarette ban. This time, they are focusing most of their energy on the role Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has played.

The highest court in the land will now review the arguments before making a decision on a leave to appeal.

Cigarette ban latest – when will it come to an end?

The COGTA Minister has been designated as the leader of the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC). It has fallen within her remit to announce changes to lockdown protocols, and introduce new restrictions after Cabinet has discussed them. This also includes the roll-out of the cigarette ban.

Dlamini-Zuma became synonymous with tobacco prohibition back in April, when she seemingly overruled Cyril Ramaphosa to extend the cigarette ban – despite the president promising it would be lifted. Although the head of state has claimed he was in agreement with the minister, it was the first time the scope of her powers had been called into question – and it certainly would not be the last.

Fita argue that Dlamini-Zuma ‘holds too much power’

Fita has gone for the jugular in their responding affidavits. They say that the authority granted to Dlamini-Zuma is ‘unprecedented’, and a serious case of executive overreach has unfolded during the lockdown. NDZ has also been criticised for failing to provide the necessary scientific backing to justify the cigarette ban:

“The prohibition in question and in the context of the ministerial decree is unprecedented in SA and is currently not in place anywhere else in the world. Clear direction from the courts is also urgently needed to prevent executive overreach. The cigarette ban has failed to stop people smoking, therefore, it has no basis.”

“The minister is empowered to exercise significant public power for the foreseeable future. The ambit of such power requires a determination by the honourble court and the outcome of this appeal will impact the economy and the lives of many millions of South Africans.”

“Dlamini-Zuma has continued to disregard the need to give due and proper weight to issues of fundamental importance such as far-reaching economic, physical, psychological and social considerations. The surveys relied upon by the minister were themselves without probative value and particularly unscientific and crude.”

Fita’s argument in the Supreme Court of Appeal

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