The self-styled Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Alliance (FITA) is nothing more than a front group for the beneficiaries of the explosion in the illegal trade of cigarettes as a result of the tobacco sales ban, according to the South African Tobacco Transformation Alliance (SATTA).
SATTA today (Thursday) highlighted FITA’s “rank hypocrisy” over its recent public comments concerning the
government’s planned appeal of SATTA’s court victory against the ban.
“FITA abandoned its own poorly constructed and losing legal action against the tobacco ban and then, proudly and inexplicably, announced that it had done a deal with the government,” said SATTA’s Zachariah Motsumi today.
“The reality is that the ban on the legal sale of tobacco was in favour for FITA and its current and former membership.
“All the independent research shows that current and former FITA’s members were, by far, the biggest beneficiaries of the tobacco sales ban as they sold billions and billions of cigarettes which yielded no tax whatsoever to SARS.”
SATTA warned that nothing would suit the agenda of FITA’s current and former members more than for the government to attempt to reintroduce the tobacco sales ban and any comments from FITA on the current government legal challenge should be viewed in that context.
“For FITA to be speaking out against the tobacco sales ban is like a multiple Lotto winner arguing against the National Lottery while, secretly, continuing to buy tickets in the hope of hitting the jackpot again,” added Motsumi.
“If FITA succeeds in its efforts to taunt the government in to reintroducing the ban then they win and everyone else in South Africa loses.”
Issued by: Zachariah Motsumi
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