You might not be able to legally buy tobacco in South Africa, but the illicit market has no problem in supplying our citizens with cigarettes. Indeed, these dealers play a risky game – and when they get caught, they lose everything. A pair of smugglers learned that the hard way over the weekend.
Cigarette sales at Level 3
Footage shared by anti-crime advocate Yusuf Abramjee depicts a police officer getting tough with those carrying cigarettes across the country. Except this wasn’t just a box or two, and Bheki Cele definitely didn’t need to see a receipt for this haul…
Hundreds of cigarette cartons were piled-up in the boot of the car, almost filling the entire portion of the vehicle. The arresting officer forces the male suspect to remove all of the smokes from his motor, in a process that seems to take an age. When he’s finally done dumping the items, the perp is forced to lay on the ground by the cop who took charge of the situation.
Watch the cigarette smugglers get caught by the police here:
— Yusuf Abramjee (@Abramjee) June 1, 2020
South Africa’s ban on tobacco
It’s understood the smugglers were operating on a route in and out of Johannesburg. Although it is technically still legal to smoke in South Africa, the purchase of cigarettes has been completely outlawed during the pandemic. The government has cited health fears linked to COVID-19, but the defence presented by Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has been questioned by her political opponents.
This decision has allowed illegal cigarette sales to boom, as smokers in Mzansi turn to the dark side to get their fix. Tobacco may return to the shelves when South Africa reaches Level 2 of lockdown, but that could still be a number of months away for our desperately deprived smokers.