No smoke without fire – South Africa’s illicit cigarette trade. 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. In South Africa, illegal sellers are defying the prohibition on buying alcohol and cigarettes. 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. 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). However, it saw another consecutive year of share decline. South Africa banned the sale of cigarettes and liquor during the national lockdown to slow down the spread of Covid-19. 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. 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. 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. South Africa is still struggling to control the spread of novel coronavirus, however, the strict lockdown restrictions are eased to resume the economic activities. "We have seen first-hand how effective collaboration can be in combatting the illegal tobacco trade. The illegal cigarette trade forms part of a broader illicit economy. Updated 3:20 am CDT, Friday, August 28, 2020 SARS reports that in the 2012/2013 fiscal year, 2 580 seizures yielded 138 million contraband cigarettes worth R63,4 million. The illicit trade in tobacco, especially cigarettes, costs South Africa’s economy billions of rands annually through the loss of tax revenue. “People are trading illegal cigarettes on Facebook. 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. South Africa has become the first country in the world in which the biggest brand in the tobacco industry is the illicit cigarette. 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. South Africa saw a marked decrease in the incidence of illegal cigarettes from 31% to 23% in 2014. ... illicit cigarettes have been openly displayed for sale at local stores and account for a third of all cigarettes sold in South Africa. Smugglers use a range of techniques, from "ant smugglers" running across dry river bends, to shipping containers with false bottoms. The unprecedented ban has been in place since March. In 2020, cigarettes is now expected to see a 7% decline in … Mathilde Boussion, Associated Press. Illegal cigarette sales booming in South Africa . “We are seeing how the black market is flooding the market again,” says Tax Justice South Africa head, Yusuf Abramjee. 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. That's why smugglers are so keen on getting their products into South Africa under lockdown. 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. Illegal cigarettes have a higher profit margin than heroin, say experts, because they're so cheap to manufacture. The Beitbridge … Many of the illegal cigarettes sold in South Africa are smuggled in from Zimbabwe, which grows tobacco and manufactures cigarettes. Research conducted by global company Ipsos has found that the non-organised trade sells 79.7% of all cigarettes in South Africa. 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.. 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. British American Tobacco (South Africa) continued to dominate cigarettes in volume terms in 2019. "Technically speaking, all cigarettes being sold during lockdown, regardless of brand, are considered 'illegal'. Ban on sale of cigarette cost the economy millions. 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 “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. Smokers caught by the South African police with black market cigarettes will be fined R1,500. The illicit trade in tobacco, especially cigarettes, costs South Africa’s economy billions of rand annually through lost tax revenue. 2020 AND BEYOND COVID-19 impact. 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. 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. The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has identified the illegal cigarette trade as a priority crime and has dedicated resources to combat it. ... illegal cigarettes make for an attractive bargain and all indications point to a growing market in the country. 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.. 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. South Africa ends ban on cigarettes, but smuggling may stay. 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. 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. 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. The British American Tobacco South Africa ( BATSA) on Monday launched an awareness campaign around the illicit trade of tobacco and cigarettes in SA. 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