Saai, an organisation that represents the interests of family farmers, will be in the Western Cape High Court on the 5th and 6th of August 2020 on behalf of farmers and farm workers to have the government’s regulations on the banning of legal tobacco sales declared unconstitutional and invalid. The case will be heard together with nine other applicants, headed by British American Tobacco South Africa (BATSA) as the largest manufacturer of tobacco products in South Africa.
The curious case of prohibited tobacco trade in South Africa as part of the national strategy “to combat COVID-19”, has left hundreds of tobacco farmers and many more farm workers in despair. “It has destroyed marketing opportunities, income streams, jobs and livelihoods in the primary production sector,” says Dr Theo de Jager, Chairperson of Saai’s Board of Directors.
“A lot of money has already been spent on input costs and infrastructure, as well as on salaries for farm workers. These costs can only be recovered if farmers are able to benefit from the yield of their tobacco harvests. The ban on the sale of tobacco products does not only inhibit the likelihood of many farmers planting for the next season, but also adds a lot of financial pressure as most farmers will need further financing to sustain their operations,” says Francois Rossouw, CEO of Saai.
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