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Last updated: 13 August 2018

FAWU March To Treasury In Fight Against Illicit Trade

13 August 2018

The Food and Allied Workers` Union (F.A.W.U.) is embarking on the third stage of its campaign against illicit trade in the tobacco, sugar and across various other industries and will hand over a memorandum of demands to a representative of the National Treasury during a protest march in Pretoria on Tuesday, 14 August 2018 at 12h30.

Assembly: Pretoria showground @205 Soutter Street, Pretoria West;
Start: 10h00
Route: Via FW Nkomo street
Destination: 40 Church Square, Pretoria Central

Handover of memo: 12h30.

The march will be supported by the South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU), the FairPlay movement and legal traders from small business groups.

FAWU demands urgent intervention from the South African Revenue Service (SARS) to address the harmful effects of the illegal trade on our economy. Katishi Masemola, General Secretary of FAWU says, "Our main demand for this march is that we want National Treasury to fund SARS to improve the capabilities of individual officers and its overall institutional capacity to monitor the borders and do inspection internally at factories. We also want SARS to specifically clamp down on illegal cigarette factories suspected of illicit trade given the alleged R 7 Billion rands in lost revenues."

The above must be done with a sense of urgency to encourage tax-compliancy and a law-abiding society. FAWU demands speedy intervention from the National Treasury as our local tobacco industry is suffering with illegal traders increasingly flooding the market with counterfeit tobacco products. FAWU has heard first hand from our members in the tobacco industry how this has affected them over the last couple of years especially in small towns such as Heideveld in Johannesburg. Heideveld is currently the only production plant of British American Tobacco in the country. Legal tobacco companies struggle to compete due to illegal goods flooding the market with cheap counterfeit products.

Illicit traders are causing severe harm to the legal and tax -compliant tobacco sector, affects job security and is responsible for huge losses in revenue. We are also concerned about the general health of consumers as these counterfeit tobacco products are not verified by services such as South African Bureau of Standards (SABS). SARS should redeploy investigative units that used to operate in the past in order to crack down on these illegal traders who make billions of rands in profits by selling counterfeit products for far below the cost price of a single pack of cigarettes. A recent survey by IPSOS has further confirmed the harmful effects of the illegal trade on the legal tobacco industry as well as on the economy.

For more information, please call General Secretary Katishi Masemola on 082 467 2509 or the Deputy General Secretary, Mngomezulu Mayoyo on 082 440 4039.