The legal team of British American Tobacco South Africa (BATSA) has been submitting their opening arguments in the  High Court in Cape Town in their urgent application to challenge government’s ban on tobacco sales.

BATSA’s legal team argues that government has not properly justified the prohibition of tobacco.

The legal team says government’s argument, which they say states that a ban on tobacco will help make more hospital beds available for COVID-19 patients, is not based on any scientific evidence.

They argue that there is currently no data available to prove that a ban on tobacco will help ease the pressure on hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Government’s legal team is expected to submit their opening arguments later on Wednesday or Thursday. The matter has been set down for two days and is being heard by a full bench of three judges.

President Cyril Ramaphosa and the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, are the respondents in the matter.

Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs reacts to the tobacco ban and the Disaster Management Act court rulings: