Police seize counterfeit cigarettes worth R45 000 in Grahamstown


Approximately R45 000 worth of counterfeit cigarettes were confiscated at a Supermarket in Grahamstown on Monday morning by members of the SAPS and investigators from the Tobacco Institute of South Africa.

“The team went to the shop requested permission to check the cigarettes. in terms of the Tobacco Products Control Act, specific requirements need to be on the packaging and this was not present,” Grahamstown Police said in a statement. 

“During the inspection the counterfeit goods were found in a black plastic bag behind a fridge. During a further inspection conducted in a room, the team discovered more boxes without the specific requirements.

“A charge under the Counterfeit Goods Act has been opened for investigation.”

Brands that were confiscated included "CHICAGO", "M's", "BASTILLE", "KINGDOM" and "RIZLARS".

No arrests have yet been made.

Big business

According to statistics more than 1 in 5 cigarettes smoked in South Africa are illegal products, which equates to over 20% of the total market. It is estimated that some 15 million cigarettes are illegally sold in the country every day.

The annual loss of revenue to the Government is more than R4 billion in excise duty and VAT - money that can be used to boost much needed public service and infrastructure. This is because 52% of the price of cigarettes is made up of excise duty.

Consumers have been urged to be suspicious of a pack of 20 cigarettes if it is being sold below R16.50.  

Proceeds from the sale of illegal cigarettes are thought to fund other criminal activities and the trade is directly linked to organised crime.