LAUNCH - SOUTH AFRICA - 2020 TOBACCO INDUSTRY INTERFERENCE INDEX
Media release: 13 August 2020
Johannesburg, S.A – The National Council Against Smoking welcomes the launch of the second Tobacco Industry Interference Index report for South Africa. The report shows an improvement from a score of 72 in the 2018 year to a score of 58 in for the 2019 year. This indicates a decrease in tobacco industry interference and a simultaneous strengthening of efforts to ward off industry interference in South Africa.
The report forms part of the Global Tobacco Industry Interference Index, an initiative of the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance and is produced by the Global Centre for Good governance in Tobacco Control (GGTC). The index is a review of governments efforts to protect public health policies from tobacco industry influence.
Three key issues are highlighted by the report, first the continuous efforts by the tobacco industry to market its products using new platforms; second, the delay in the finalization of the Control of Tobacco Products and Electronic Delivery Systems Bill (2018); and thirdly the changes at the South African Revenue Services (SARS).
The report indicates that the establishment of the SARS new illicit trade unit aimed at tackling illicit tobacco trade and tax evasion and generally improved capacity has resulted in a lowering of the score of the index from 72 in 2018 to 58 in 2019. Nevertheless, as a result of the tobacco industry interference, the tender for the independent track and trace system deadline was extended from August 2019 to October 2019.
The report also shows that more needs to be done, as South African government departments and organizations’ linked to government still partner with, and receive funding from tobacco companies. The existing Tobacco Products Act prohibits corporate social responsibility contributions from the tobacco industry but still permits charitable contributions in as far as they are not for advertising purposes.
The report also provides wide-ranging recommendations for change, including:
Urgently passing the new proposed Tobacco Bill (2018),with minimum content and technical change [inclusive of a ban on all forms of contributions (CSR and political)] from the tobacco industry
Ratifying the Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products.
Implementing an independent track and trace system with urgency to address the illicit trade problem
Developing policy and protocols to disclose and record all government interactions with the tobacco industry
Implementing the Political Party Funding Act which will force disclosure of private funding and also make it possible to track and stop industry influence.
The report and its executive summary are available at: NCAS website
For further information, contact:
Dr Sharon Nyatsanza: 079 666 1356
Savera Kalideen: 071 227 0939