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Concerns over proposed Tobacco Bill impact

Neelam Rahim | neelam@radioislam.co.za

3-minute read
08 December 2023 | 09:48 CAT

Image: iStockphoto.com

Radio Islam International looks into a critical issue affecting the National Informal Traders Alliance, which has expressed concern over the potential adverse effects of the proposed Tobacco Bill, particularly its impact on their members.

The chairperson of the National Informal Traders Alliance of South Africa, Rosheda Muller, spoke to Radio Islam International to shed light on this pressing matter.

Among the contentious points are the suggested prohibition of single cigarette sales and the public display of nicotine products.

Muller says the impact on informal trade must be considered before developing any new laws or regulations.

“If they are not able to sell the single cigarettes, it will lead to them being arrested [and jailed] for up to five years,” she said.

Muller adds about a third of the average informal trader’s income comes from cigarette sales.

According to Muller, the bill puts every hawker or trader on the wrong side of the law. This is alarming because informal traders, most of whom are women, are already some of the most marginalised in our society.

“South Africans have a right to know what the bill will actually mean in practice and the negative impact many of its provisions will have on the informal trade in particular,” said Muller.

Muller added, “We are opposed to the bill’s ban on the sale of single cigarettes and on the display of all tobacco-related products, including cigarettes, and we are shocked by the inappropriately extreme prison sentences in the bill.”

Muller said there was nothing wrong with the current tobacco control laws; they just needed to be enforced. The informal trade was the lifeblood of the economy, and the government should do everything it could to support it, not cut off access to one of its most important sources of income.

Listen to the full interview on Your World Today with Mufti Yusuf Moosagie.

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