LETTER: State must end illicit sales first to prevent the failure of another tobacco bill
If Savera Kalideen has ideas about what can be done now about the illicit tobacco trade, and not just what can be done in the distant future, we would love to hear them
Savera Kalideen of the National Council Against Smoking (NCAS) has written that SA’s problem of illicit tobacco could be solved if there is political will. That is undoubtedly true. She also stated that evidence shows that all manufacturers have a role to play in the illicit trade problem, the implication being that the Tobacco Institute of SA (Tisa) members are also complicit. That is simply untrue and Kalideen was reckless to state it. Tisa members British American Tobacco, Japan Tobacco International and Philip Morris International declare every cigarette they manufacture or import to the South African Revenue Services (Sars) and pay the excise due, without exception. There is not a shred of evidence to suggest otherwise.
We have repeatedly asked Sars to place officials in all factories operating in SA to see for itself who is playing fair and honest and who is not. There is clear evidence of this: Tisa commissioned a study with Ipsos, the results of which were published in...