Flash Briefing: Vaping market in Treasury’s sights; Zuma’s Stalingrad tactics continue; Amnesty International calls out SA politicians

  • National Treasury is setting its sights on the e-cigarette and vaping market, with a discussion paper on the intended taxation of electronic nicotine and non-nicotine delivery systems. The paper was published in mid-December and sets the groundwork for possible taxes on these products in the coming 2022 Budget. The vaping market is largely unregulated in South Africa – falling behind other countries which have placed restrictions on the products and related items. The industry is approaching R3bn in value in South Africa and presents another avenue for Treasury to draw taxes and other excise duties.
  • Corruption-accused Jacob Zuma is hammering every legal nail he has to keep his corruption trial at bay. He is now seeking to appeal the dismissal of his “special plea” application to have all charges against him dropped. Even if this appeal is dismissed, Zuma is insistent that the appeal goes to the Supreme Court to have ‘questions of law’ answered. The NPA argues that Zuma can only appeal once convicted and sentenced. The move is the latest in an almost 20-year battle by Zuma’s legal team to keep the trial at bay. Zuma is also fighting the State Capture Commission by flooding the courts with appeals, interdicts and other applications.
  • Amnesty International says that politicians need to stop blaming their employment crises on foreign nationals, adding that it is scapegoating their own failures and shifting the blame and responsibility onto an incredibly vulnerable group of people. The comments come after the EFF hopped on the anti-foreigner sentiment in South Africa by conducting unsanctioned ‘checks’ on businesses, looking for instances of foreign labour being used instead of local workers. Political parties have called the EFF’s actions a form of workplace terrorism and feeding xenophobia, while legal experts say the EFF’s actions were unlawful and likely breached personal information protection laws.
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