Monday 24 September 2018
MEDIA STATEMENT FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OVER 10 000 CITIZENS CALL ON GOVERNMENT TO STOP THE ILLEGAL CIGARETTE TRADE
Over 10,000 South Africans have now signed on the #TakeBackTheTax petition, calling on Government to take decisive action in combating the trade of illegal cigarettes.
The people who have added their voice to the call to stop the South African economy from losing at least R7 billion in potential tax revenue every year, are responsible citizens.
They are calling on the authorities to put an end to this criminality and ensure that the full tax rate is paid for every cigarette sold in South Africa.
The campaign was launched by the Tobacco Institute of Southern Africa (TISA) in July.
#TakeBackTheTax spokesperson, Yusuf Abramjee said “the response from the public has been excellent so far and we urge South Africans to continue to stand up and take a stand against the illicit trade.”
“The illegal cigarette trade is literally daylight robbery.”
“Traders don’t even try to hide this theft anymore. Cheap cigarettes for R5 and R10 per pack are boldly displayed and sold in almost every shop and on every table top in the country,” he said.
A call has been made on government “to act urgently and decisively.”
Abramjee is calling on all law-abiding citizens to make their submission now and says the figure of 10 121 (as of this morning) can definitely be surpassed.
Abramjee said he was happy to see that Government was starting to slowly understand that it is being robbed of billions of Rands: “We urge SARS and the SAPS to start clamping down on the illegal cigarette trade now.”
He added that SARS recently committed to stopping the illicit trade, but went on to add “we now want to see tangible action being taken, as a matter of urgency.”
Abramjee said “all sectors of society should be supporting #TakeBackTheTax. It’s the right thing to do.”
“It’s strange and worrying that some are in fact defending the illicit distribution of cigarettes, and the people behind this illicit trade. I hope they realise that by denouncing this campaign, they are in fact supporting tax evasion and crime.”
TISA has also revealed that thousands of jobs have been lost in the legal value chain in the past few years and more are at risk of being lost today as a result of the manufacture and sale of these illegal cigarettes.
“We call on members of public to speak out and make their submissions by visiting takebackthetax.org and following @TakeBackTheTax on twitter.
“The time has come to #TakeBackTheTax”.
Abramjee added: “We call on Government to plough the money it will recoup back into communities for basic services and other urgent needs.”