Finance minister Tito Mboweni has revealed that he does not support the government’s decision to continue with the ban on alcohol and cigarette sales as the country moves from level 5 to level 4 of the lockdown.
On Wednesday 29 April, Cooperative Government and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma undermined a previous announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa that cigarettes would be available for purchase during Level 4 lockdown. She shocked the nation by reversing the decision, continuing the ban due to health concerns.
Responding to questions during a joint virtual meeting of parliament’s various finance committees, Mboweni indicated that he would have allowed the sale of alcoholic beverages and tobacco products to resume if he had his way, but has to support the cabinet collective decision.
“I didn’t like the continuous ban on tobacco and alcohol but I lost the debate and therefore I have to toe the line,” Mboweni told MPs from the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces.
“I know I’m losing a lot of revenue in the middle of being under pressure to spend but nevertheless that’s a decision of cabinet and I have to fall in line if want to (continue being) a member of the executive. If you can’t fall in line you must leave, so one has to fall in line in that regard.”
Meanwhile, Level 4 of lockdown has kick-started on Friday, 01 May 2020.