Black tobacco farmers: We pay tax and create jobs, but SA govt is suppressing us
The association has expressed disappointment at government’s decision to extend the ban of cigarette sales under level 3 lockdown.
BFTA's secretary Jabulani Tembe says its members are being put out of business by the ban which uplifts criminals n the black market.
Tembe claims that bakkie loads of illicit cigarettes are entering South Africa through the Mozambican border.
Meanwhile, black tobacco farmers across five provinces cannot pay their farmworkers or harvest their crops, he says.
The association believes that government is turning a blind eye to the illicit tobacco market, allowing criminals to flourish while livelihoods across the local value chain are on the line.
We pay tax and run a legitimate business. We're creating jobs in SA, but the government is suppressing us.Jabulani Tembe, Secretary - Black Tobacco Farmers Association
The ban is having a big impact on farmers. We employ a lot of people as farmers.Jabulani Tembe, Secretary - Black Tobacco Farmers Association
It's obvious that whatever we have planted, we can't harvest or sell.Jabulani Tembe, Secretary - Black Tobacco Farmers Association
The reality is that people are smoking. Even though there is this tobacco ban in South Africa.Jabulani Tembe, Secretary - Black Tobacco Farmers Association
I live close to the Mozambique border. Every day, there are bakkies that are taking cigarettes throughout the country. It's happening. People are smoking.Jabulani Tembe, Secretary - Black Tobacco Farmers Association
They are not smoking the brands that are being produced in South Africa, it's from other countries.Jabulani Tembe, Secretary - Black Tobacco Farmers Association
Listen to Jabulani Tembe in conversation with Lester Kiewit:
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