British American Tobacco South Africa (BATSA) has decided not to pursue legal action against the government over the ban on the sale of cigarettes.

On Wednesday morning, the company said it received a formal response to its letter from the national command council.

We have taken the decision not to pursue legal action at this stage but, instead, to pursue further discussions with the government on the formulation and application of the regulations under the Covid-19 lockdown,” it said in a statement. 

BATSA said it has received a response to a letter sent at the end of April to the National Command Council and was “convinced that by working together we can find a better solution that works for all South Africans and removes the threat of criminal sanction from 11 million tobacco consumers in the country”.

The tobacco company, which sells the brands Peter Stuyvesant, Kent, Lucky Strike, and Dunhill, and has a 78% share in South Africa’s legal cigarette market, did not say what the letter said. 

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The ban on the sale of cigarette and tobacco products was first instituted on March 26 when the nationwide lockdown commenced. The prohibition continued under level 4 of the lockdown which has been in place since the start of May.

The ban on the sale of cigarettes has sparked outrage from smokers, who’ve called on the government to re-think the regulations and benefit from the tax revenue that could be raised by allowing sales.