South Africa: We Tried to Buy Cigarettes at Four Shops in Cape Town, and Were Half Successful

Are cigarette sales banned, or legal?

The confusion at top government level was mirrored on the ground on Friday.

This week, the Western Cape government said cigarettes could be purchased at supermarkets along with essential goods.

But Police Minister Bheki Cele hit back on Thursday, saying that cigarette sales were still against lockdown regulations.

At two major petrol station chains in the northern suburbs of Cape Town, the answer was a resolute: "No cigarettes. Sales are banned."

Shelves were empty, or locked.

But at two other small convenience stores along a major arterial route in Cape Town, the request for cigarettes was heard.

Shopkeepers paused, seemed to evaluate the risk, and then cautiously asked: "What brand?"

They then produced boxes from under the counter.

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde said on Friday he appealed to President Cyril Ramaphosa for clarity on the proper interpretation of the lockdown regulations, News24 reported.

Winde said he was serious about co-operating with the national government's efforts to fight Covid-19.

"I therefore called President Ramaphosa this morning to make clear that our concerns relate to the proper interpretation of the regulations, which are at times vague. Together with the national government, we want to apply a common sense approach to them that stops the spread, but also assists us with things like e-learning, for example," he said.

He pointed out that the debate was not only about cigarettes, but also about whether data dongles and notebooks or pens for pupils were considered essential while schools were closed.

Winde, who thanked the president for his willingness to "help us and our residents get the clarity they need", will submit a list of issues which he believes require clarification, to the Minister of Cooperative Governance on Friday and a special President's Coordinating Council will be called on Saturday to discuss the regulations in particular, he said.

Stay up to date and stay healthy. Subscribe to Health24's Daily Dose newsletter for important updates on the spread of the coronavirus. Register and manage your newsletters in the new News24 app by clicking on the Profile tab

Source: News24

See What Everyone is Watching

More From: News24Wire

Don't Miss

AllAfrica publishes around 800 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.