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SARS should not be accepting donations or gifts from the tobacco companies

Statement from the National Council Against Smoking (NCAS) – Sharon Nyatsanza, Deputy Director 


SARS should not be accepting donations or gifts from the tobacco companies. A Fin24 special report published earlier today reveals that SARS accepted donations of equipment used to destroy illicit cigarettes. This is like partnering with the fox to protect the hen house. 

 Instead of taking gifts from tobacco manufacturers, SARS should be investigating all tobacco companies, on allegations of tax evasion and complicity in illicit trade. None of the tobacco companies’ hands are clean, and SARS must start to see tobacco companies as part of the problem of illicit trade and not the solution.


This is a clear violation of government’s obligations under the World Health Organisation’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control(FCTC), which instructs government not to take gifts or accept assistance from the tobacco industry. 


Tobacco companies make donations to buy influence. Just two weeks ago, British American Tobacco South Africa was accused of bribery and corruption. It allegedly used its partnership with government as a member of the Illicit Trade Task Force team to break the law and spy on competitors. This just shows that interacting with tobacco companies, especially when done behind closed doors, is breeding ground for manipulation and should be avoided.



For further information contact: 
Sharon Nyatsanza, Deputy Director sharon@againstsmoking.org.za
+27 79 666 1356

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Smoking is the single most preventable cause of death in the world. The World Health Organisation (WHO) says that in South Africa (SA) alone, smoking results in more than half of lung cancer deaths, 37% of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease deaths, and over 20% of cardiovascular deaths and tuberculosis (TB) deaths. Smoking-related TB deaths are especially prevalent in South Africa, due to a higher vulnerability of HIV-positive individuals to TB.  Because it attacks the lungs, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) could be an especially serious threat to those who smoke or vape.

The new Control of Tobacco and Electronic Delivery Systems Bill will make it easier for South Africans to choose smoke-free lives, regulate the danger of e-cigarettes and decrease the impact of second-hand smoke on the majority of the population, who are non-smokers. Why is taking time to implement? Tobacco industry profits are at the expense of addicted smokers, their families, and public health.  Together, the National Council Against Smoking (NCAS), the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA) and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of South Africa are steadfast in campaigning for the new Bill to be passed. It’s time for our people and our government to show leadership in implementing global best practice to curb the onslaught of big tobacco. 

Zanele Mthembu, Public Health Development and Policy Consultant

Savera Kalideen, Executive Director of the National Council Against Smoking 

Sharon Nyatsanza, Project and Communications Manager, National Council Against Smoking 

Lorraine Govender, National Advocacy Co-Ordinator, Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA)

Professor Pamela Naidoo, CEO, The Heart and Stroke Foundation of South Africa

Dr Catherine Egbe, Specialist Scientist: Alcohol, Tobacco and other Drug Research Unit, South African Medical Research Council

Tamaryn Brown
Connect Media for Cart Agency
+27 (0) 84 3510560

Nirvana Kishoon 
Cart Agency
+27 (0) 82 823 3167


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