UPDATED 7:39 AM PT — Friday, May 29, 2020
A ban on alcohol and tobacco sales in South Africa has led to a rise in illicit trading.
According to reports Friday, residents across South Africa are contributing to a “boot-legging culture” after the country placed the temporary ban in an effort to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
The country’s lockdown measures are among the most restrictive in the world with more than 230,000 arrests over violations.
Although prices are much higher, bootleggers have made the contraband available for those willing to pay.
“They have banned the sale of cigarettes, but we are still able to buy them. We buy them in the streets off the black market. The officials know about it because they continue to smoke.”
— Mluleki Mbhele, street vendor
As South Africa moves to Alert Level 3 on 1 June, let's work together to protect lives & continue to observe vital social distancing & hygiene practices to curb the spread of COVID-19. #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/9hrInxEO1A
— Presidency | South Africa (@PresidencyZA) May 28, 2020
While the South African president announced the easing of restrictions, the ban on tobacco products is set to continue. The sale of alcohol for home consumption will be permitted June 1, while pubs and bars will remain closed.