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Petition to stub out illegal cigarette trade grows

Petition to stub out illegal cigarette trade grows.
Petition to stub out illegal cigarette trade grows.
Image: FILE

Citizens are calling on the government to take decisive action in combating the illegal trade of cigarettes.

More than 10‚000 South Africans have signed a petition on the #TakeBackTheTax campaign‚ said anti-crime activist Yusuf Abramjee.

Abramjee said those who had added their voices to a call to stop the economy from losing at least R7-billion in potential tax revenue every year were responsible citizens.

The petition calls on the authorities to put an end to the illegal trade and ensure that full tax is paid for every cigarette sold in the country.

The campaign was launched by the Tobacco Institute of Southern Africa (TISA).

“The response from the public has been excellent so far and we urge South Africans to continue to stand up and take a stand against the illicit trade‚” said Abramjee.

“Traders don’t even try to hide this theft anymore. Cheap cigarettes for R5 and R10 per pack are boldly displayed and sold in almost every shop and on every table top in the country‚” he said.

He labelled the illegal trade as “daylight robbery” and calls have been made to government to act urgently and decisively.

Abramjee said the petition figure of 10‚121 – as of Monday morning – could be surpassed. “We urge Sars and the SAPS to start clamping down on the illegal cigarette trade now.”

He added that Sars recently committed to stopping the illicit trade‚ but went on to add “we now want to see tangible action being taken‚ as a matter of urgency.”

Abramjee said it was worrying that some defended the illicit distribution of cigarettes: “I hope they realise that by denouncing this campaign‚ they are in fact supporting tax evasion and crime.”

Members of the public can make their submissions by visiting takebackthetax.org

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