Part of the reason the tobacco industry has managed to get away with most of its shenanigans might be that it has pulled off a silent coup. Any South African can tell you about the value of political patronage. Buying power may not be cheap but it makes you virtually Teflon.

In recent weeks rumours have gained ground that politicians are potentially benefiting from SA’s ban on cigarette sales. There has been no hard evidence of this yet, but there certainly seems to be enough smoke to fuel suspicion...

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