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Fighting the black market

For British American Tobacco South Africa, fighting the illicit tobacco trade addresses not only a threat to our business, but also a more serious national and social threat: that of organised crime

South Africa, and in many other countries around the world, the black market in tobacco involves criminal gangs producing counterfeit cigarettes, cross-border smuggling and large-scale tax evasion. The illicit trade also often leads to unsuspecting smokers gaining access to unregulated tobacco products.

Keeping our own house in order

British American Tobacco South Africa requires our companies and employees to support only legitimate trade in our products. Through our ‘Know Your Customer’ guidelines and procedures we try to ensure that the volume of tobacco products we supply is consistent with legitimate demand. It is our policy to stop doing business with customers or suppliers that we find to be complicit in illicit trade.

Our approach to fighting the black market in tobacco includes:
  • Effective internal governance and supply chain security
  • Gathering commercial information on the illegal trade
  • Working with authorities to ensure that appropriate enforcement action is taken
  • Engaging with South African stakeholders and regulatory bodies to increase understanding of the issue
  • Informing regulators about the impacts of the illegal tobacco trade
  • Raising awareness of the issue among our employees, business partners and the public.
Working with South African law enforcement

We fully support the actions of the South African Police Service, the South African Revenue Service, the Southern African Customs Union, and other national and international bodies in their fight against illegal tobacco products.

We see it as critically important that governments establish workable tax regimes and economic policies that do not create conditions that encourage illicit trade, together with strong border controls and effective law enforcement.