There is a video circulating on social media which shows dozens of cigarettes being smuggled into South Africa from Zimbabwe. Although the date of the incident could not be ascertained, we do believe it was after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Massive quantities of cigarettes poured across the Limpopo border from Zimbabwe when South Africa banned the sale of cigarettes to prevent the spread of COVID-19. They became freely available on the black market at a fraction of the cost of more established brands such as Marlboro, manufactured by Philip Morris and it is alleged that the treasury lost billions of Rands in revenue each month. Watch the video recently posted by Star FM Zimbabwe:
Brands that have been poured into South Africa include Remington Gold (RG) cigarettes, one of Gold Leaf’s brands. This has resulted in South African authorities opening a case on illicit tobacco, gold and fuel transactions against Simon Rudland, a Zimbabwe-based tycoon and co-owner of Gold Leaf Tobacco.
Rudland and his Gold Leaf Tobacco say they could not be held responsible for cigarettes legitimately bought in Zimbabwe and smuggled across the border.