SARS should not accept donations from the Tobacco industry

SARS should not accept donations or gifts from the tobacco companies. A Fin24 special report published earlier today reveals that SARS accepted donations of equipment used to destroy illicit cigarettes. This is like partnering with the fox to protect the hen house.


Instead of taking gifts from tobacco manufacturers, SARS should be investigating all tobacco companies, on allegations of tax evasion and complicity in illicit trade. None of the tobacco companies’ hands are clean, and SARS must start to see tobacco companies as part of the problem of illicit trade and not the solution.


This is a clear violation of government’s obligations under the World Health Organisation’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), which instructs government not to take gifts or accept assistance from the tobacco industry.


Tobacco companies make donations to buy influence. Just two weeks ago, British American Tobacco South Africa was accused of bribery and corruption. It allegedly used its partnership with government as a member of the Illicit Trade Task Force team to break the law and spy on competitors. This just shows that interacting with tobacco companies, especially when done behind closed doors, is breeding ground for manipulation and should be avoided.


[ENDS]


For further information contact:


Sharon Nyatsanza, sharon@againstsmoking.org.za

+27 79 666 1356

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