Fita Drops Appeal in Tobacco Ban Dispute

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    The Fair-Trade Independent Tobacco Association (Fita) has dropped its bid to appeal an earlier court ruling that upheld South Africa’s temporary ban on tobacco sales.

    In a statement issued on Wednesday, Fita chairman Sinenhlanhla Mnguni said the association will withdraw its pending appeal before the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein.

    The move comes after Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma promised to consult the public should she at any stage seek to reinstate a temporary prohibition of the sale of tobacco and related products.

    Fita had criticized the government for not seeking public input when it banned tobacco sales on March 27 as part of its coronavirus lockdown. South Africa lifted its ban mid-August, but the legal action was not immediately halted.

    Both parties agreed to pay their own legal expenses incurred during the tobacco ban litigation.