The South African Informal Traders Alliance (Saita) says the ban on the sale of cigarettes, only led to the informal trade losing their much-needed income.

The alliance has pleaded with government to urgently lift the ban on the sale of cigarettes.

The alliance is the national voice of informal traders, hawkers, spaza shop owners and home-based operators working across all the nine provinces in South Africa.

Its president, Rosheda Muller, says the ban forces law-abiding citizens to do business with criminals.

“The ban is not stopping people from smoking, but instead of buying cigarettes from their usual informal traders they are now buying illicit products from criminals. When our President [Cyril Ramaphosa] asked us to go into lockdown 8 weeks ago, we listened, despite knowing the devastating impact it would have on our lives and livelihoods.

In the video below, government says the ban on the sale of cigarettes remains effective:  

Seven men arrested for possession of counterfeit cigarettes

On Saturday, seven men were arrested at Hluhluwe in northern KwaZulu Natal for the illegal possession of counterfeit cigarettes.

A police operation was conducted after intelligence was received about the suspects who were transporting counterfeit goods into the province.

KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson, Thembeka Mbhele, says the men aged between 20 and 36, were arrested in the town centre.

The suspects were charged for being in possession of counterfeit goods and bribery after one of the men offered police officers R100 000 for their release.

The combined estimated street value of the recovered goods was R990 000.

The suspects have also been charged for contravening the Immigration Act.