Can you guess which one?
The ban on going to work and earning an income (if your business is classified as “non-essential”)? No.
The ban on attending public places of worship? No.
The ban on going out to visit family? No.
The ban on going out to exercise outside of the 6am to 9am window? Nope.
The ban on going out to buy hot food, or how about alcohol? No and no again.
The ban on the sale of tobacco? Bingo!
Crazy, isn’t it, that this should be the thing that gets South Africans the most worked up about?
But then Munier understands it all too well, having been a pack-a-day smoker himself for 22 years, before quitting a couple of years ago.
Perhaps Grootbek would have been one of the loudest voices, chanting: “This is my body and I have a constitutional right to poison it!
“Fascist government can’t take away my freedom!”
A non-smoker would never be able to comprehend this logic. Because there is none.
Once you’re hooked on smoking, all rational thought goes out the window.
Same can be said of addiction to dop and other substances.
Anyway, the petition starts by first slamming government’s ban, then shows concern that government is losing R35 million a day in sin taxes.
“Illicit cigarettes are flooding the market at massively inflated prices, delivering no tax to the country and actively increasing the movement of people - the very thing the lockdown is supposed to prevent,” it says.
On a more honest, personal level, the appeal says: “Withdrawal of nicotine has serious effects on a lot of people and is especially elevated because of the stress and fear happening in our country.
“It causes, amongst others, depression and anxiety and because we are in lockdown, most people will lash out and maybe even hurt loved ones unintentionally.”
The struggle is real, people. Nicotine is listed as the third most addictive substance on the planet, after heroin and crack cocaine. Worse than tik.
There’s nothing worse than a smoker cooped up at home with no access to entjies - wrestling with that psychological demon for those first few days is a nightmare!
It can make you do and say crazy things.
It made a scapegoat out of Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
She was accused of “overruling” President Cyril Ramaphosa - who had initially announced that he would lift the ban - in a “party power struggle”, and that she was involved in dirty deals with the illegal cigarette mafia.
Ramaphosa later came out to clarify that his National Coronavirus Command Council had in fact collectively changed their minds on the entjie ban, and that his minister had not gone rogue.
But it matters not. South African smokers have already made up their minds that Dlamini-Zuma is the corrupt, incompetent dictator who has stripped them of their human rights.
The danger of this is that public dissatisfaction at the tobacco issue has sparked broader opposition to government’s lockdown policy, which so far has actually been effective in slowing the spread of the virus.
And if we are to beat the pandemic, we will need a united effort and cannot allow selfish individual “freedoms” to put the health of the nation at risk.
The irony, according to Munier, is that there is no better freedom than being rid of this legal, over-the-counter drug.
Oh, the joy of going to bed without worrying how many in your box for the next morning.
It’s true, no politician or doctor can dictate to you the time and terms of how you stop smoking.
But consider this, the post-Covid-19 world will be a different place with lots of lifestyle changes.
Now is as good a time as any to make a change.
Government and their health experts are not blowing smoke up our butts.
It’s true, Covid-19 is a virus that targets the lungs, making smokers more vulnerable to the deadly disease.
People are dying today. Tomorrow is not a better time to quit.
If you need help kicking the habit, try Allen Carr’s Easy Way to Stop Smoking book, or the Smokenders programme, or call the National Council Against Smoking quit line on 011 720 3145 or email: [email protected]
Stay safe, stay healthy, mense.