Jacques Pauw, the veteran South African investigative journalist, has raised the possibility that the continued prohibition on the sale of tobacco products during lockdown could be due to nefarious forces.

On Wednesday, minister of co-operate governance Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said tobacco products could not be sold during the level four lockdown, despite President Cyril Ramaphosa having announced that the ban would be lifted on 1 May.

Pauw was speaking to Kieno Kammies on CapeTalk radio. He said that there was no rational basis for the continued ban on tobacco products. Said Pauw: ‘We have to look at politics… We all know in which camp Dlamini-Zuma is. There is a nexus between her and Ace Magashule (African National Congress [ANC] Secretary-General) and even the EFF (Economic Freedom Fighters).’

According to Pauw, the continued ban could be due to links between Dlamini-Zuma and Adrian Mazzotti, described as an ‘alleged illicit tobacco kingpin’ by CapeTalk. Mazzotti allegedly funded some of Dlamini-Zuma’s campaign to become leader of the ANC in 2017, and photos have emerged of Dlamini-Zuma and Mazzotti together.

The EFF, which came out in strong support for the continued tobacco ban, have also allegedly been funded by Mazzotti.

Said Pauw: ‘I can assure you that lots of Mazzotti’s cigarettes are being sold around at the moment… We’re talking about organised crime here. In the meantime, South Africa is losing tax revenue at a time when the government urgently needs money.’

Pauw is the author of The President’s Keepers, published in 2017, which exposed the links between former President Jacob Zuma (Dlamini-Zuma’s ex-husband) and organised crime.


  1. Why are none of the medical experts and professors who support the ban on cigarettes making any mention of the fact that black market cigarettes are not regulated and may contain more harmful substances?

    • True am having a headaches lately because of these illicit cigarettes this is very bad for us but our leaders don’t care

      • Perhaps now would be the time to consider giving up, never mind Politicians, think of your own health as “they” don’t care

        • Why would I want to give up now? If and when I give up is my choice not some woman’s who should be sitting at home looking after her grandchildren.

  2. Just a question to Dlamini-Zuma…First of all, I,m not a smoker, …you banned the sales off Tabacco products? Don’t you think obesity is just as unhealthy? Something you can consider yourself!

  3. Either Dlamini Zuma’s low intelligence does not allow her to comprehend irrationality of the tobacco ban or she has a personal interest in supporting it because of her alleged association with a mafia tobacco boss.
    Then again, maybe both.

    • Darius, I’m not a fan of Zuma believe me, but I just want to question why you said she has low intelligence? She is a qualified medical doctor by the way! I think your comment is simply racist!

      • Racist? Why? I know a lot of dumb whites, coloreds and black people. And of course a lot of intelligent people also, who don’t scream racist because of another person’s remarks. But you can be a doctor and still have no common sense. And that’s worse than stupid.

    • Cigarettes are ban but dagga is not ban and more dangerous than normal cigarettes. Smokers are getting emptional and depress which cause you to get medical attention. Really its unfair to ban cigarettes but now people buy illegal cigarettes. People can decide by themselve if its a health risk to them or not

  4. How is it possible that a shockingly large number of people believe that Ramaphosa is the face of a better faction within the ANC trying to stamp out corruption and repair the ANC-inflicted damages of the past? He’s clearly one of them, always has been and always will be. Unless he’s retarded he can’t possibly believe that the cigarette ban has anything to do with health.

  5. Expected more from this article. This is just speculation with no proof to back up any claims, which results in no answers and leaves is still in the same predicament.

  6. Just ask the working class where they get their ciggies from..freely availabe – well, not actually freely because they cost ten times than before. This and the prohibition has nothing whatsoever to do with the virus, its all about power and ego.

  7. She claims to be a doctor. Then she would know the health risks of banning tobacco in a nation that has not 11 million consumers, but the impact from cold Turkey with zero support from the government to support it.

    There are currently more cases of suicide than Covid deaths that are directly related to this irrational ban. That blood is on her hands.

    But yes, also, follow the money.

    This is clear corruption and a crime against humanity.

  8. I am not a smoker anymore but those that smoke is doing so out their legal choice. Smoking us not illegal. My gripe is that if they (ANC) can enforce this they are taking control of the nation’s right to choose. I thought we have the worlds best and modern democracy? While in real terms we have the world’s best de-mockery of a democracy! What next? They take control of our cash?

  9. Why moderation? I thought it is our democratic right to express your personal opinions? Why is everybody so scared to criticize. Now that is a sure sign of communism and or socialism.

  10. Everytime ramaphosa says the ban on tobacco will be lifted dlamini decides over his head..the ANC are promise breakers and cannot be trusted..if they can go back on the promise of lifting tobacco ban what else will they go back on..idiocracy and hypocrasy is the new norm in government..i think dlamini definately has personal gain in this ban..taking away personal choice is a violation of our rights..

  11. People who smoke bought the illegal cigarettes before covid 19 at 150 Rand per carton. Legal ciggarettes is obtainable from R270 per carton before covid19. Now the legal cigarettes is unobtainable and people pay From 800 to a 1000 rand for this unrefined cheap ciggarettes. There is also a lot of poor people that smoke who now has to pay this high price. What a shame. 80 t0 a r100 a packet. the people who sell these cigarettes are mostly libearians. pakistanies nigerians and drc’s. not even our own people can make this excessive profits for themselves. I think it is a redicolous situation. Even in Communist China people are now allowed to smoke during covid 19

  12. What worries me most is the fact that Dlamini Zuma seems to ride rough-shod over Cyril Ramaphosa. He is either a total coward or Dlamini has got some hold over him. He does not act like a SP should. So, do not be surprised if Dlamini Zuma might be in line as the future SP in the near future.

  13. All smokers should vote for anyone but the ANC or the DA. ANC is so pathetic and the DA does not stand up for us. They should take this matter to the constetutional court. They are also useless

  14. Since SA is borrowing so much from so many different helpers shouldn’t someone report this constantly to the interpol or open a case at the world courts, or something over NDZ & CR’s heads…

  15. Has too have a connection you the better prices the illicit market ensures those whore making big bucks out of squirrel’s kowtowing faux pas

  16. The issue is a smoke screen, excuse the pun. It diverts attention away from the objective- control.
    It is demonstrating power and demanding compliance.
    It is to further the socialist and communist totalitarian control . We are showing you we can still control you and the judiciary is on our side. It is captured.

  17. Every major corrupt deal involving government has a portion going to the ANC. That is why the never pay for their crimes.

  18. I am wondering how Dlamini Zuma when is have very strong apartheid she has a chance to go and study in England? And now how she decides to interfere in my personal life. She is not even my friend, to decide did I can smoke or not. She doesn’t like cigarettes, and what: everybody must stop to smoke…(all nation). What if tomorrow she stops to drink water…what? we also must stop to drink water…Why she acting like God… But she is is not our Creator…We are born free and have on chance to make on choice…
    On her age, she must put the pampers, sit at home, and not make stupid greedy decisions…


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