Tim Cohen Senior editor: Business Day

Sometimes I think government legislates by using a random word generator designed to kick out the latest international trend, which is then slapped into law at the whim of someone in the administration. There are plenty of examples, but the latest one to pique my interest is the Control of Tobacco Products and Electronic Delivery Systems Bill, otherwise known as the Tobacco Bill. The bill has, like all good disasters, good intentions; to reduce smoking and dependence on addictive substances. But for the past few weeks I have been discussing various aspects of the tobacco industry with a huge variety of people for a cover story that appeared this week in the Financial Mail. The story is really about the subversion of the SA Revenue Services (Sars) as much as it is about the tobacco industry; so the focus is on direct cigarette tax, called excise duty. In the process, I looked a bit more closely at the Tobacco Bill, which in the morass of SA politics I hadn’t really looked at very clo...

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