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Press Release

Tobacco criminals are making a mockery of us all

Tuesday 15 December 2020 – CRIMINALS are laughing at the law as they rob billions from decent South Africans by selling illicit cigarettes in the world’s biggest black market.

Tax Justice SA (TJSA) founder Yusuf Abramjee says: “The illegal ban on tobacco sales during lockdown has created a monster.

“Criminal syndicates now control South Africa’s cigarette trade and are selling up to six out of every 10 cigarettes without paying the due tax.

“They’re pocketing billions as the fiscus is looted of more than R30 million every day.

“Alarmingly, they are doing this openly and in broad daylight, seemingly without fear of prosecution.”

Abramjee’s comments come after the Tobacco Criminals & Smugglers of Africa (TOBACSA) boasted that the illicit cigarette trade had already netted them more than R18 billion this year.

A video of TOBACSA spokesman Roger Gold giving thanks for the ban – and for the support the criminal market is still getting from previously law-abiding smokers – ends with the message: “Merry Frikkin’ Christmas.”

“This might be funny if it wasn’t so true,” says Abramjee. “Illicit trade is a scourge that is bleeding South Africa dry.

“Criminals in illicit trade now control the world’s biggest black market in cigarettes. They are growing super-rich by making a mockery of the law and of all honest, hard-working South Africans.”