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Cooperative Governance Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has told the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) that the sale of tobacco and alcohol should continue to be banned until the country reaches Level 1 of the lockdown.
According to News24 they was reliably told that Dlamini-Zuma was supported by Home Affairs Minister
Aaron Motsoaledi when she told the NCCC this week that she believed it would be too much of a health risk to allow the sale of cigarettes and alcohol on 1 June when the country is expected to go to Level 3 of the nationwide lockdown.
This prompted a debate in the meeting, chaired by President Cyril Ramaphosa, with no resolution on the matter.
A high-ranking insider with intimate knowledge of the meeting said Dlamini-Zuma had come prepared with academic papers that argued against the sale of tobacco and alcohol during the Covid-19 pandemic, citing health risks.
This is despite an agreement that government would lift the restrictions on the sale of tobacco under Level 3.
Those who opposed the proposal led by
Dlamini-Zuma argued that a pandemic was not the time to make policy decisions, as both the tobacco and alcohol industries were not banned - they were simply regulated.
Discussions Continue - No Finality thus far:
A reliable insider said that even Health Minister Zweli Mkhize, who initially supported the ban, seemed to have come to terms with the fact that cigarettes and alcohol should be allowed with strict conditions under Level 3.
There was no decision on the matter, the source said. "The discussion goes on and on and there is no finality," the insider said.