NATIONAL NEWS - Police are not allowed to confiscate or arrest you for having a packet of cigarettes.
Only the buying and selling of cigarettes are illegal, said national police spokesperson Brigadier Vish Naidoo.
“The regulations do not say anything about people smoking.”
He said cigarettes may only be confiscated if it can be proven by the police that they were bought or sold illegally.
Social media was abuzz recently with people claiming and questioning whether police were allowed to confiscate their cigarettes.
Some claimed that police had stopped them and upon searching, confiscated their cigarettes.
In terms of the national disaster management act regulations, the sale of tobacco, tobacco products, e-cigarettes and related products is prohibited.
For such an offence a person can be fined R1 000.
Anti-crime activist Yusuf Abramjee advised people to open a case against the police or report them to the Independent Police Investigation Directorate (Ipid).
“I have received numerous complaints since the lockdown began about police harassing shop owners, saying that even if they were not selling cigarettes police threatened to arrest them and confiscate their stock,” he said.
“We are concerned about rogue elements within the police services. Even with the lockdown and disaster management rules, the police cannot be a law unto themselves.”