Sun, 05 Apr 2020

Tobacco industry lobby group to be stubbed out

23 Jan 2020, 04:15 GMT+10

The Tobacco Institute of South Africa - an organisation established to pursue the interests of tobacco companies in the country - announced in a statement released on Wednesday that it would be winding down its functions in the tobacco industry.

The statement appeared on the home page of the lobby group's website on Wednesday.

Among other things, the institute lobbied for the enforcement of tax compliance by some cigarette producers, who sold their product well below market price through tax avoidance.

In the statement, Tisa said its member companies had opted to used their resources for their own individual strategic goals and, as such, the institute would be closing its doors.

"The Tobacco Institute of Southern Africa has announced that it is to wind up its operations. Its members have taken a decision to redeploy their resources to fulfill their individual strategic objectives," said the statement.

The statement said Tisa members would continue working on issues of individual and shared concern, including the fight against the illicit trade in tobacco. The statement said illicit tobacco trade was a challenge of national interest.

"The illegal cigarette market in South Africa is a multi-billion rand industry which cost the South African taxpayer more than R8bn in lost taxes last year alone, and more than R40bn since 2010," the statement said.

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Tisa chair, Francois van der Merwe, said he was very proud of the work the organisation had done and wished the members success in the future.

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