Since the lockdown was implemented in South Africa, the ban on the sale of alcohol and tobacco products has been a point of contention between the general public and the government.
While the country counted billions in lost tax revenue and FITA prepared to take the matter to court, South Africans turned to the black market to get their nicotine or alcohol fix.
Some have even started brewing their own tipple, which comes with a warning of its own.
News24 recently investigated just how easy it would be to buy illegal cigarettes, finding that in Cape Town, it took only four minutes and 28 seconds for a reporter to get their hands on a box. In under an hour, they’d found someone willing to sell a full carton.
Most of the trade is happening via social media, primarily WhatsApp and Facebook.
While these platforms may seem safe, attorney Megan Harrington-Johnson issued some hard truths about the legality and possible legal implications of these exchanges.
Harrington-Johnson spoke to Jacaranda FM recently about a host of issues, including the relationship between tenant and landlord during lockdown, and employees rights if their salaries are cut to keep companies afloat.
MyBroadband goes into her comments on the illegal sale and distribution of alcohol and cigarettes.
Harrington-Johnson warned people that, independent of their feeling towards the ban, it is currently law and people who break this law face harsh penalties.
She said it is worrying that people on social media are advertising alcohol and cigarettes for sale, which is illegal.
“It is currently illegal to trade in, transport, or sell alcohol or cigarettes,” she said.
All it takes is a screenshot of a WhatsApp or Facebook advertisement for the sale of cigarettes or alcohol to be sent to a police station, and you could be looking at criminal charges.
The following activities could implicate you in what is currently considered an illegal activity:
In other words, be careful.
While we might not be fond of these new laws, they are laws nonetheless.
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