Malema backs Dlamini-Zuma on cigarette ban

28 May 2020 - 14:13
By Kgothatso Madisa
EFF leader Julius Malema
Image: Alaister Russell EFF leader Julius Malema

EFF leader Julius Malema has thrown his weight behind Cogta minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma on her stance against the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products during lockdown levels 4 and 3.

He said that Dlamini-Zuma’s fight against tobacco was well documented.

Dlamini-Zuma has been under constant attack since announcing that the national coronavirus command council had decided that the sale of tobacco products would remain prohibited under level 4 and subsequently level 3.

“We have been observing some of the attacks against minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma that she’s banning cigarettes because she’s supporting [cigarette trader Adriano] Mazzotti underground selling of cigarette. It’s nonsensical and it’s unacceptable,” Malema said.

“Because we all know where Nkosazana comes with the battle against tobacco. Her attitude on tobacco doesn’t start now and it’s a principled stance she has taken and we must support her. In the long run, tobacco is not a solution. We must, at some point, find a way where we have a society free of cigarettes.”

Malema said he therefore supported Dlamini-Zuma’s attitude.

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He went on to say Mazzotti was actually one of the parties in a legal battle with Dlamini-Zuma on the decision to continue the ban on cigarettes.

Malema, however, said that the decision to continue the ban must be backed up by scientific evidence that it was, in the immediate, a threat to human life.

He said it did not make sense that the ban on alcohol sales would be lifted under level 3 while it was maintained on cigarettes.

“The banning of tobacco should be supported by a scientific explanation. In the absence of scientific explanation, then it’s egoism and abuse of power.

“It cannot be correct that you uplift alcohol sales and ban cigarette sales. We know that cigarette kills and cigarette causes all types of diseases. But if you were to compare that with what alcohol does, in the immediate, you would be amenable to lift the banning of cigarettes and continue the banning of alcohol,” Malema said.

Malema was speaking during an EFF media briefing where he aired the party’s views on some of the decisions taken by the government during the global pandemic.