Flash Briefing: SA home of world’s biggest black market; Cele to pursue Zuma; vaccine hesitancy

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  • A shocking new report shows a tsunami of illegal tobacco is flooding South Africa as a result of authorities’ failure to act on damning evidence of the world’s biggest black market. The new report by market researchers IPSOS reveals that two in three shops in the hotspot provinces of Free State, Gauteng and Western Cape sell illegal cigarettes and that illegal cigarettes are on sale in 41% of all shops nationwide. Yusuf Abramjee, founder of Tax Justice South Africa (TJSA), warns that “criminals are being allowed to loot the nation of billions of rand by making and selling tax-evading cigarettes.”
  • Steinhoff International, which is still grappling with the consequences of an accounting scandal that wiped out R200bn in shareholder value, says Dublin-based Hamilton has withdrawn an appeal relating to voting procedure in its proposed settlement plan. Hamilton is a litigation-funding company based in Ireland, which is seeking more than R16bn on behalf of about 14,000 retail investors, asset managers and pension funds in SA.
  • One of the world’s fastest pace of deaths from Covid-19 infections hasn’t been able to trounce widespread hesitancy over vaccines in South Africa. Deaths from the virus in the country rose 72% week-on-week as of Monday, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, the fifth-fastest worldwide and behind only Zimbabwe on the continent. Health experts have warned that a lack of communication coupled with anti-vaccine propaganda may be responsible for daily doses languishing almost 50% below President Cyril Ramaphosa’s target.
  • South African police plan to arrest former President Jacob Zuma by midnight on Wednesday in the absence of any further instruction from the Constitutional Court, Police Ministry spokeswoman Lirandzu Themba said. Police Minister Bheki Cele sought clarity from the court about the arrest order after Zuma applied to a lower court to have it suspended. SpokeswomanThemba said, “Failing to do so would mean the minister and the police commissioner would be in contempt of court. The minister has indicated he is not prepared to be charged for contempt of court.” The judgment on the application to stay the arrest will be handed down on July 9.

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