As the government faces an unprecedented level of legal challenges to its Covid-19 shutdown regulations, co-operative governance minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has strongly defended the state’s disputed decision to continue its cigarette ban and denied any suggestion that she and President Cyril Ramaphosa were “at odds” over it.

“There is nothing sinister in a change of position following a consultative process ... in fact the very nature of consultation is that change may result,” Dlamini-Zuma stated in court papers filed late on Friday, in response to the urgent challenge to the tobacco ban by the Fair-Trade Independent Tobacco Association (Fita). ..

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