CRIME-fighter and spokesperson for #TakeBackTheTax Yusuf Abramjee once again called on the SA Revenue Service and the police to act against the illegal cigarette trade.
This comes after he won a case in the High Court in Pretoria on Friday in which the Gold Leaf Tobacco Corporation wanted to silence his criticism.
Abramjee said he would continue the fight against the illicit cigarette trade and he stood by his statements, including that “RG is an illegal cigarette brand”, and Gold Leaf, which manufactures it, is “avoiding taxes”.
The company applied for an urgent interim interdict against Abramjee, after it claimed that the well known presenter of Crime Watch was involved in a smear campaign against it. It said it wanted to prevent him from making statements which, it said, tarnished its image.
Gold Leaf also wanted to force Abramjee to remove his statements from its website. It also issued a R50million damages claim against Abramjee, citing his public campaign against the firm which is causing it reputational and financial harm.
The first post appeared on Abramjee’s website on November 27 last year and led to a letter from Gold Leaf’s legal team, demanding that he removes the posts, which he refused to do.
Gold Leaf also demanded an apology and said Abramjee should retract his statements, and make an offer as to how much he would pay them in damages.
On February 14 this year, he again published an article on his website in which, in essence, he repeated his statements. Gold Leaf once again sent him a letter in which it threatened to seek to interdict him and go ahead with a damages claim against him.
Abramjee’s advocate Steven Budlender told Judge Lettie Malopa this was “bullying tactics”. Budlender also said the matter should be struck from the roll as Gold Leaf had created its own urgency.
Judge Malopa agreed that Gold Leaf had had since November, so the matter was not urgent.
She said she would not comment on the merits of the application, nor on why Gold Leaf would take one individual to court and not other parties, including the media houses, which in June last year had also published statements about Gold Leaf.
Abramjee said he would defend the damages claim to the bitter end, as he believed in what he said.
“I will not be intimidated,” he said.
He added the illicit cigarette trade cost the taxman billions in revenue and it was time it was stopped.