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If this situation is allowed to continue unchecked, the obituary of many legitimate players in the local tobacco industry will pretty much have been written By Sihle Mlambo Johannesburg - A recently released report on powerful cartels in Zimbabwe has exposed how cigarette companies are illegally infiltrating the South African market, while dodging the local taxman at the same time. In a report published by the Maverick Citizen, the report titled Report on Cartel Power Dynamics in Zimbabwe, which is authored by anonymous stakeholders in Zimbabwe, details how cartels have crippled state institutions in Zimbabwe and that there is little political will for the matters to be addressed. It estimates that over $5bn (about R73bn) is lost through corrupt dealings spearheaded by the cigarette, fuel and agriculture cartels in Zimbabwe. The report details how cigarettes are smuggled into South Africa – where they are no longer liable for 40% excise duty and are then sold cheaper in the local market than locally produced tobacco products. The report says 27% of cigarettes consumed in SA are smuggled into the country by cartels. “The main cigarette smuggling cartels consist of 1) political patrons who allow the cartels to operate with impunity, 2