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Press Release

Lockdown sales ban will fuel illicit trade, TJSA warns

Sunday 29 March 2020 – THE ban on the sale of specific goods during the coronavirus lockdown threatens to spread the virus and fuel illicit trade, Tax Justice South Africa (TJSA) warns today.

TJSA founder Yusuf Abramjee says: “Citizens are being tempted to seek out illegal traders because they cannot buy everyday goods in their nearest store.

“Illegal traders don’t obey the law and are delighted to have new customers for their illicit alcohol, cigarettes, medicines and even foodstuffs. Some of these new customers may never return to the legal market, even after the lockdown.

“South Africa already loses R100 billion in taxes to the illicit economy every year, money that is desperately needed now more than ever. These sales bans risk making that financial blackhole even deeper.”

Spread of the virus may even be increased by the ban on products not on the ‘necessary basic goods’ list, said Mr Abramjee.

“The objective of the lockdown is to make people stay at home and not move around. Banning items that we consume every day from shops we will visit anyway for food makes people more likely to move around and defeats that objective.

“However well intentioned, the sales regulations are in danger of backfiring and TJSA is asking ministers to reconsider the rules on certain items to help save lives and the SA economy.”

Notes to Editor

The establishment of Tax Justice South Africa is a rallying cry to the people and to Government to take action against organised criminal gangs that are plundering South Africa.

Founded by Yusuf Abramjee, Tax Justice South Africa is campaigning for a lawful and prosperous South Africa and for urgent action against criminals who steal billions in legally due taxes every year.

Every day approximately R250 million is looted from South Africa by criminal tax evaders, undermining the Government and the rule of law, and robbing its people of a brighter future.

Tax Justice South Africa will work to raise awareness of this national menace and show how these stolen funds could be used to build a better nation.

The campaign is supported by Makali Lepholisa, former Commissioner for Customs in  Lesotho, and Andy Mashaile, Interpol Turn Back Crime Ambassador, who join Yusuf as the Directors of Tax Justice South Africa.


For media queries contact Yusuf Abramjee, and +27 82 441 4203