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Department of Health plays Mary Poppins

Aaron Motsoaledi: “…why do kids need nannies? Because there are certain things which they can’t do for themselves; they need somebody to take care of them. We are playing that role…”

“The Department of Health is on the warpath against freedom and property rights. It has a plethora of extreme nanny-state proposals that reflect a patronising mind set regarding all South Africans,” said Leon Louw, Free Market Foundation executive director in response to media reports that regulations further restricting the freedom of smokers will be submitted to cabinet shortly.

“In a constitutional democracy with the separation of powers and the rule of law, extreme invasion of personal liberty should not occur,” said Louw. “If it does, it should at the very least be the culmination of a proper legislative process entailing debate, scrutiny and an independent Socio Economic Impact Assessment (SEIA).” 

What the department has in mind suggests a total disregard for the right and ability of citizens to make lifestyle, health and personal risk decisions. It also erodes property rights by denying owners of buildings and businesses, misleadingly called “public places”, the right to determine how people associate and conduct themselves on their property. 

The latest proposals will likely BAN the following:

– outdoor smoking in public places

– indoor smoking in “public places”

– the display of cigarettes at retailers

– branding through plain packaging.

“What is happening at the behest of the department of health is a relentless march from a free and emancipated society of citizens trusted by their government to run their own lives, to a society in which all citizens are treated as if they are children incapable of managing their affairs,” added Louw.


“Plain Packaging” of tobacco products – the thin edge of the wedge – Leon Louw

Consequences of tobacco display ban – Leon Louw

Educate don’t regulate – Leon Louw

The impact of smoking bans on property rights – Leon Louw

Tobacco advertising and freedom of speech – Leon Louw

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