New smoking law proves politicians are divorced from South Africans

The Tobacco Bill shows we're getting legislation nobody asked for but still have to wait on legislation we’ve been begging for.

Over the last few days, parliament dusted off a bill that’s been around since 2018 and applied some legal magic that revives a bill beyond a national election that would otherwise, by operation of process, kill it.

South Africa’s politicians are trying to pass a new Tobacco Bill, which they hope will introduce new smoking laws for South Africa.

It’s just such a strange thing because as great as health is, I can’t imagine that there were many domestic workers writing to the Minister of Health complaining that their employers were smoking in their own homes. I also can’t imagine many partners phoning a government hotline complaining that their significant other is having a cigarette.

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So where does the rationale for applying new tobacco laws come from? I have my doubts about it coming from the electorate; neither this nor the previous batch of voters.


Since a Constitutional Court case back in 2018, we’ve been waiting on the legislature to give some guidance about how the country is going to be handling cannabis. Despite the minister’s clear lust for legislation that controls people in the pursuit of greater health, somehow focus can’t seem to shift away from tobacco and nicotine.

Now, we’re getting legislation few really ask for and for whatever reason, still have to wait on legislation we’ve been begging for… so much so that we’ve had court cases about cannabis and children, cases about cannabis and medicine, cases about cannabis and religion. There have been so many court cases around cannabis to force the hand of both our executive and legislative leadership. You know what we’ve never had? A case of a passenger suing a driver for lighting up a Marlboro.

It’s just absurd and unfathomable why we need to wait for something we’re begging for because we’re too busy getting something nobody asked for.

The court case was so long ago that the suspension on the ruling has since lapsed, effectively making the Constitutional Court breach separation of powers by directing legislation – through no fault of its own.

I’m not sure what is up with this executive but they live in this world divorced from South Africa but still find reason to issue dictates. Three tourists killed in South Africa since 1994? Laughable and even if it were the case, take this middle finger for ignoring the number of tourists abducted, hijacked, burgled or even robbed.

It’s not like safety is only an issue of not being murdered Lindiwe. While you’re at it, take this other middle finger for ignoring the violence faced by South Africans and attempting to separate the two as if tourists are immune from the plights of nationals.

If I had a third middle finger, I’d have plenty of reasons to give it but the one that stands out is that there just seems to be no care for what is actually happening on the ground.

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Granted, in national leadership, one needs to take macro factors into consideration and make laws accordingly but that’s not all one needs to do. There’s more to the job than imposing your beliefs on your public. Sometimes you need to let go of your arrogance and hear your public too.

Don’t keep making us go to court to get you to listen, though seeing what’s been happening in the Free State regarding Macufe, it doesn’t seem like courts are even something government officials think they should listen to.

So at least listen to us. The cannabis industry has been begging you for some direction and assistance in setting up the industry for years. Take some time out of your fixation for alienating cigarettes and let’s get going on something we should have done in the 90s.

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Marijuana (Weed/Cannabis) Tobacco