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Despite calls by smokers and the legal tobacco industry, on April 29 the government confirmed its uncompromising stance on the ban. Strangely, this announcement followed only six days after President Cyril Ramaphosa declared that the government planned to lift the tobacco ban as South Africa enters Level 4 of lockdown on May 1. 

Unsurprisingly, there was a collective sigh of relief among smokers at the time, only for that to turn to disgust and outrage on social media late on Wednesday evening over the authorities’ about-turn.