These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. Econometrix, in a study commissioned by British American Tobacco South Africa (Batsa), said tobacco excise revenue has dropped R1.94 billion in two years, despite successive increases in tax rates. The illegal cigarette trade forms part of a broader illicit economy. South Africa banned the sale of cigarettes and liquor during the national lockdown to slow down the spread of Covid-19. South Africa is still struggling to control the spread of novel coronavirus, however, the strict lockdown restrictions are eased to resume the economic activities. The illicit trade in tobacco, especially cigarettes, costs South Africa’s economy billions of rands annually through the loss of tax revenue. Using wave 5 of the National Income Dynamics Study (conducted in 2017), this paper investigates the market for very low-priced cigarettes in South Africa, which, in all probability, are illicit. This renders the illicit trade in cigarettes under lockdown as 100% of the market," says Johann van Loggerenberg, the author of the searing exposé Tobacco Wars, about the illegal cigarette trade in South Africa.. An army vehicle was used to deliver Edward Zuma's illegal cigarettes in the Seshego area of Limpopo ... the cartons were hidden in laundry powder boxes. Peter, 38, from Beitbridge, who has been selling illegal cigarettes for more than five years, said the South African ban had presented a huge opportunity for many in the business. The unprecedented ban has been in place since March. “People are trading illegal cigarettes on Facebook. Many of the illegal cigarettes sold in South Africa are smuggled in from Zimbabwe, which grows tobacco and manufactures cigarettes. South Africa “has the biggest, by far, illegal trade in tobacco in the world,” said British American Tobacco, the world’s second-largest tobacco group, which says it has an estimated 78% share in South Africa’s legal cigarette sales. The British American Tobacco South Africa ( BATSA) on Monday launched an awareness campaign around the illicit trade of tobacco and cigarettes in SA. Illegal cigarette sales booming in South Africa . According to the South African Revenue Service (SARS), the estimated loss through the illegal cigarette trade for the 2015/16 financial year was R6 billion. South Africa ends ban on cigarettes, but smuggling may stay. Illegal cigarettes have a higher profit margin than heroin, say experts, because they're so cheap to manufacture. South Africa, Africa's second-largest economy, has effectively banned smoking by making the sale of tobacco illegal in one of the most drastic public health measures introduced anywhere around the world during the pandemic. BAT said its brands fell 5.4 percent in 2018 to 157 billion sticks, largely on the back of the growth of illicit trade in South Africa and Brazil. In 2020, cigarettes is now expected to see a 7% decline in … Mathilde Boussion, Associated Press. 2020 AND BEYOND COVID-19 impact. South Africa 18 June 2020 - 07:16 By Iavan Pijoos Illicit cigarettes including Remington Gold, Chelsea, Royal Express and Premium worth R2.25m were confiscated in the province and 20 arrests made. All cigarettes sold during South Africa’s unprecedented lockdown have likely been produced on the black market, and therefore poses serious dangers to your health, a local advocate against the sale of illicit products said. Formed in 2018 in response to the escalating illegal cigarette crisis, #TakeBackTheTax is an initiative of the South African Tobacco Institute of South Africa (TISA). "Technically speaking, all cigarettes being sold during lockdown, regardless of brand, are considered 'illegal'. No smoke without fire – South Africa’s illicit cigarette trade. But, smokers were given no respite as South Africa is the only nation in the world to ban sale on all tobacco products. That’s the claim in a Facebook post from 15 May 2020 and a WhatsApp voice note Africa Check received.. “We are seeing how the black market is flooding the market again,” says Tax Justice South Africa head, Yusuf Abramjee. The illicit trade in tobacco, especially cigarettes, costs South Africa’s economy billions of rand annually through lost tax revenue. That's why smugglers are so keen on getting their products into South Africa under lockdown. Ban on sale of cigarette cost the economy millions. Research house Ipsos said that South Africa has become the first country in the world to allow an illegal cigarette brand to become a top seller. British American Tobacco (South Africa) continued to dominate cigarettes in volume terms in 2019. SARS reports that in the 2012/2013 fiscal year, 2 580 seizures yielded 138 million contraband cigarettes worth R63,4 million. Non-profit organisation Tax Justice South Africa, which vehemently opposed the prohibition, has called for a national tip-off line to report illicit cigarettes. This involves counterfeit goods, motor vehicles, clothing and textiles, movies and music. "We have seen first-hand how effective collaboration can be in combatting the illegal tobacco trade. Smugglers use a range of techniques, from "ant smugglers" running across dry river bends, to shipping containers with false bottoms. BAT South Africa’s portfolio of more than 20 brands offers some of South Africa’s most well-known and top-selling cigarette brands, including Peter Stuyvesant, Pall Mall, Dunhill, Kent, and Rothmans. ... illicit cigarettes have been openly displayed for sale at local stores and account for a third of all cigarettes sold in South Africa. However, it saw another consecutive year of share decline. Smokers caught by the South African police with black market cigarettes will be fined R1,500. South Africa saw a marked decrease in the incidence of illegal cigarettes from 31% to 23% in 2014. The post shows a front page story in the Daily Voice newspaper about a young man being killed for a R10 “entjie” – a half-smoked cigarette. Research conducted by global company Ipsos has found that the non-organised trade sells 79.7% of all cigarettes in South Africa. The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has identified the illegal cigarette trade as a priority crime and has dedicated resources to combat it. In South Africa, illegal sellers are defying the prohibition on buying alcohol and cigarettes. South Africa has become the first country in the world in which the biggest brand in the tobacco industry is the illicit cigarette. Updated 3:20 am CDT, Friday, August 28, 2020 According to a study conducted by the South African Revenue Service (SARS), the estimated loss through the illicit trade of cigarettes for the 2015/16 financial year was R6 billion. South Africa should ratify the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control’s Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products and join the existing 52 parties.53 Becoming a Party to the Protocol would allow South Africa to draw on technical assistance and international collaboration in addressing its serious problem with illegal cigarettes. ... illegal cigarettes make for an attractive bargain and all indications point to a growing market in the country. The government has imposed the ban in late March to protect citizens health during the coronavirus pandemic. Consumers drive everything we do at BAT South Africa, and we invest effort and care in understanding their preferences. 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