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High Court Stops SARS from Installing CCTV Cameras in Cigarette Factories



cigarette factories

The High Court in Pretoria of the Gauteng North has appointed an injunction on SARS to refrain from setting up CCTV cameras at cigarette factories. It has implications for factories across the country, as it is after an application FITA had made in the past.

According to EWN, FITA tackles this procedure by roadblocking the rule published in August 2022 on SARS surveillance and the RTI to defeat illegal acts. This association,” representing over 80% of authorised cigarette producers in South Africa, stated that the newly developed law contradicted human rights.

The FITA chairperson Sinenhlani Mnguni told the Newzroom Afrika that the action taken by the SARS was unconstitutional and illegally intruded into Fit and Health businesses, respectively. He asserted that such a law was unchecked and went against what should be the standard of global democracy; he further illustrated this by mentioning countries that had such laws, like Vietnam and China.

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“The court sided with us and said this is a blunt instrument,” Mnguni explained. “It doesn’t only assist the tax collector in collecting information regarding tax obligations but goes further by collecting everything visible to the camera. Such practice with impunity compromises the data privacy of both factory owners and employees who have not granted their consent to be subjected to 24-hour surveillance.”


Revenues lost due to tobacco tax evasion can reach billions annually; an anticipated justification for monitoring reforms presented by SARS was that such a move was needed to plug this hole.

Even though temporary, the interdict’s psyching out of FITA is only a step towards the main application of the legality of said CCTV rule. This subsequent lawsuit will be the determining factor at which point the whole surveillance of the tobacco industry will end.

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Picture: Pixabay / Gerd Altmann


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