Jacques Pauw explores alleged links between the cigarette ban, NDZ and Mazzotti
On Wednesday, Cooperative Governance Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma announced the decision to extend the ban on cigarette sales, despite earlier assurances from President Cyril Ramaphosa that the ban would be lifted.
Pauw, the author of the President's Keepers, says Dlamini-Zuma's decision has no rational basis and can be viewed as a political move.
We have to look at politics... We all know in which camp Dlamini-Zuma is. There is a nexus between her and Ace Magashule and even the EFF.Jacques Pauw, Author and investigative journalist
Why did Dlamini-Zuma and the command council do it, because they haven't given us any good reason yet?Jacques Pauw, Author and investigative journalist
Pauw infers that the cigarette ban could be motivated by Dlamini-Zuma's alleged ties to alleged illicit tobacco kingpin Adriano Mazzotti.
Mazzotti allegedly funded her presidential campaign to succeed President Jacob Zuma back in 2017, according to Pauw's book.
It's alleged that he supplied Dlamini-Zuma with an array of election paraphernalia, including election caps and shirts, for the ANC elective conference at Nasrec in December 2017.
Mazzotti has also funded the EFF. In November 2017, EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi confirmed that Mazzotti had donated R200 000 towards registering the party in the 2014 general elections.
Pauw says the EFF's Floyd Shivambu was quick to praise Dlamini-Zuma this week after she announced the extension of the cigarette ban.
After I published the book (The President's Keepers), more photographs emerged of Dlamini-Zuma with Adriano Mazzotti.Jacques Pauw, Author and investigative journalist
Very interestingly, the EFF released a statement congratulating her [Dlamini-Zuma] for the continued ban of tobacco, something which makes absolutely no sense.Jacques Pauw, Author and investigative journalist
Meanwhile, tobacco companies are threatening legal action against the continued ban.
They argue that the ban is unjustified and only fuels the sale of illicit cigarettes on the black market.
As the Minister of Cooperative Governance, Dlamini-Zuma oversees the Disaster Management Act, the umbrella legislation that regulates the lockdown.
Many have questioned the rationality of the cigarette ban while South Africa loses much-needed tax revenue.
Pauw says South Africa has lost R1.6 billion in tax revenue in April due to the ban on cigarettes and alcohol.
Meanwhile, the illicit cigarette trade is booming in South Africa, including brands under Mazzotti's cigarette company, Carnilinx, Pauw claims.
I can assure you that lots of Mazzotti's cigarettes are being sold around at the moment... We're talking about organised crime here. In the meantime, South Africa is losing tax revenue at a time when the government urgently needs money.Jacques Pauw, Author and investigative journalist
Smugglers are making a killing out of cigarettes at the moment. It's all illicit.Jacques Pauw, Author and investigative journalist
The number one weapon against cigarette smuggling is SARS.Jacques Pauw, Author and investigative journalist
Why impose regulations on people that you cannot really police... Cigarettes are streaming across the border.Jacques Pauw, Author and investigative journalist
Listen to the discussion on Today with Kieno Kammies (apologies for the patchy audio):