FITA Press Release 19 June 2021

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Press release – FITA – for immediate release

FITA Press Release

We note, with a great degree of shock, the news that members of the South African National Defence Force, which is constitutionally mandated to defend and protect the Republic of South Africa, its territorial integrity and its people in accordance with

the Constitution and the principles of international law regulating the use of force, were arrested for allegedly transporting illicit cigarettes in a military vehicle with an alleged illegal immigrant.

As an organization we have long been vocal about corrupt law enforcement agents and officials at our border posts who play a substantial role in the smuggling of illicit cigarettes via our various border posts.

The latest incident, as shocking as it is, affirms our long-held view that the criminal syndicates behind the rampant smuggling of cigarettes into the country can only succeed with the help of corrupt law enforcement agents.

We call on the various bodies in our criminal justice system responsible for the investigation, prosecution and adjudication of matters such as this to ensure that justice is administered, and that the sovereignty and integrity of this country is protected.

Incidents of this nature undermine our national security and embolden the criminal syndicates responsible for these acts which, amongst other things, rob our fiscus of billions.

We also call on all law enforcement agencies to implement stronger measures to monitor the conduct of their members while on duty. The illicit trade in cigarettes and other goods cannot flourish with the aid of corrupt law enforcement agents. We have of late been encouraged by the great work being done by various law enforcement agencies in rooting out the illicit trade in cigarettes, and we hope that they can rid themselves of these rotten apples who are putting a black mark on all these efforts.

Issued by Fair-trade Independent Tobacco Association Chairperson: Sinenhlanhla Mnguni 19 June 2021

For queries kindly contact Monique Vogel t: 072 720 7919; e: Monique@fita.co.za

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