While they are opposed to the resumption of alcohol sales, the EFF says it will not fight it in court. Julius Malema has described attacks levelled against Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as unnecessary. Malema says there is nothing good about alcohol, labelling it distractive, it destroys families and contributes to domestic violence
EFF leader Julius Malema has questioned the government's decision to allow alcohol to be sold and the continued ban of cigarettes.
He also came to the defence of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma who has raised the ire of many over the government's continued ban of tobacco products.
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He described the attacks on Dlamini-Zuma and her purported links to alleged tobacco smuggler Adriano Mazzoti as nonsensical and unacceptable.
Mazzoti is a long-time associate of Malema's and has also contributed to the establishment of the EFF.
"We all know where she comes from with the battle against tobacco. It doesn't start now and it's a principle stance she has taken, and we must support her," Malema said.
He was speaking at a virtual press conference held by his party on Thursday.
This was the first time the EFF has held a media briefing since the coronavirus pandemic hit South African shores in March.
Malema said those who attacked Dlamini-Zuma were doing it for their own means, adding journalist and author Jacques Pauw as well as former policeman and head of the South African Revenue Service's investigative unit Johan van Loggenberg had also defended the minister saying her actions had nothing to do with Mazzoti.
Some have claimed she was pushing for the ban in order to allow for illicit tobacco to thrive on the black market.
Read more: Tobacco U-turn was a collective decision: Ramaphosa defends Dlamini-Zuma
The EFF leader said Dlamini-Zuma knew she had a great responsibility on her shoulders in the lockdown and was doing it well, saying in the same breath the president (Cyril Ramaphosa) should be ashamed of himself for announcing the resumption of the sale of cigarettes.
The decision was soon abandoned after the government made a U-turn.
Scientific evidence for continued ban on cigarettes
Malema, while saying he was not bothered about the ban on cigarette products, said it had to be informed by science; otherwise it would just be "egos" and "abuse of power".
"We know it kills and causes all types of diseases but if you were to compare tobacco to what alcohol does in the immediate you would be amenable to the lifting of cigarettes and ban alcohol."
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He added the government could not justify the continued prohibition of cigarettes while allowing for the sale of booze.
"Trauma units become extremely over-populated with incidents that [are] derived from alcohol ... it's not correct to uplift alcohol sales and ban cigarettes."
Malema also hit out at the black majority over its reaction to news that the sale of alcohol would resume.
Videos of people celebrating, ululating and hooting, while others set off fireworks at the news did the rounds on social media when Ramaphosa announced alcohol would be sold under Level 3 which kicks in on 1 June.
Malema said monopoly capital sought to make money from alcohol while the majority was just distracted by it.
"You want alcohol to be sold to celebrate and drown your sorrows."