Today's Labour News

newsThis news aggregator site highlights South African labour news from a wide range of internet and print sources. Each posting has a synopsis of the source article, together with a link or reference to the original. Postings cover the range of labour related matters from industrial relations to generalist human resources.

newsBusinessLive reports that SA is at risk of losing its tobacco-growing industry following notification by British American Tobacco Southern Africa (Batsa) to the country’s only tobacco processor that it might have to consider buying foreign tobacco should the illicit industry gain further traction.  

Batsa wrote in December to Rustenburg-based Limpopo Tobacco Processors (LTP), which buys and processes most of SA’s tobacco crop from about 100 commercial farmers and about 150 emerging farmers, pointing out the deteriorating market conditions for the tax-paying portion of the industry.  Batsa indicated that sales volumes have declined from 15.2-billion cigarettes in 2016 to an estimated 11.5-billion in 2018, "solely as a result of the ever-increasing availability of illegal cigarettes for R10 per pack on average".  The primary tobacco industry employs 10,000 farm workers with 35,000 dependants.  Illicit trade in tobacco and other products has flourished since the skills exodus that effectively eliminated the investigative and enforcement capacity of the SA Revenue Service (Sars) in the years since 2014, when Tom Moyane took over as national commissioner.  Batsa’s letter "puts the very existence of our company in doubt", said Christo van Staden, the MD of LTP.  He has written to finance minister Tito Mboweni and other ministries to ask them for a meeting to discuss the issue.

  • Read Tim Cohen’s report on this story in full at BusinessLive

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