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Press Release

TJSA backs Kieswetter’s war on tobacco tax cheats

Thursday 11 April 2024 – TAX Justice SA (TJSA) today welcomes the taxman’s renewed crackdown on the rampant illicit tobacco trade and demands that all cigarette manufacturers show their support by dropping their legal action against CCTV cameras in factories.

South African Revenue Service (SARS) commissioner Edward Kieswetter declared on Wednesday that the tobacco industry is “rife with corruption” that deprives the country of vital revenue and erodes social cohesion.

He said SARS was unapologetic in enforcing the law requiring cameras be installed in all cigarette factories. “If cigarette makers have nothing to hide, why would they object to using smart technologies to monitor their production volumes?” he said on News.

Members of the Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association (FITA), including Carnilinx which is owned by self-confessed tobacco smuggler Adriano Mazzotti, are taking SARS to court to prevent installation of cameras.

TJSA founder Yusuf Abramjee says: “Businesses and households across South Africa install CCTV to stop themselves being robbed.

“SARS wants CCTV cameras to stop criminal cigarette manufacturers robbing South Africa of R27 billion a year.

“We can only speculate as to why FITA and its members are opposed to this. They must drop their court case before it’s due to be heard on Monday (April 15), or we will know they don’t really support SARS’ crackdown on organised crime.

“Sophisticated criminal syndicates have been allowed to loot South Africa for too long. The message to all tobacco firms should be simple: install the cameras or lose your licence to make cigarettes.”