The Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association (FITA) has lost its court application to have the ban on the sale of tobacco products lifted.

The application has been dismissed with costs.

The organisation has been arguing that the ban has allowed the illegal sale of tobacco products to thrive.

It also wanted cigarettes declared essential because they are addictive.

The High Court in Pretoria has rejected the argument as it was without merit.

Below is the full judgment on the case:

The news comes as civil rights organisation, Tax Justice South Africa, called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to urgently intervene and immediately lift the ban.

The rights group has joined the British American Tobacco SA’s court challenge. BATSA’s hearing is scheduled for 5 August.

Its challenge was postponed on Friday after it was scheduled for next Tuesday.

South Africa is now the only country in the world to prohibit the sale of cigarettes as part of its coronavirus lockdown regulations after Botswana lifted its ban this week.

Tax Justice South Africa’s founder Yusuf Abramjee says they have filed a supporting affidavit outlining the ban’s disastrous contribution to the illicit economy in their application to the High Court in Cape Town.

He says Ministers on the National Coronavirus Command Council know they cannot legally justify their irrational prohibition of cigarette sales.

Abramjee says the ban robs the country’s struggling economy of R1.4 billion in taxes and threatens thousands of jobs.

The tobacco ban was implemented by government at the start of the national lockdown over 90 days ago. And as frustration grows, an online poll demanding an immediate decision on the matter is growing momentum.

In the video below, smokers in Cape Town protest against tobacco ban: