Spaza shops: Gauteng government unveil plans to tackle “fake foods”

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To combat the selling of illegal and fake foods, the Gauteng Provincial Government will from 18 September 2018 embark on unannounced visits to a number of spaza shops across the province.

Spokesperson for the MEC of Economic Development, Castro Ngobese, confirmed that their unannounced visits would leave no stone unturned:

“We will be kick-starting our ‘O Kae Moloa’ [where is the law] campaign to wipe out the selling of illegal and fake foods or products in all spaza shops across the province. We will be embarking on unannounced visits to a number of spazas across the length and breadth of the province.”

“Fake foods” cause outrage

The spot checks follow a spate of attacks and looting of businesses owned by foreign nationals in Soweto and elsewhere in the province in August. Ngobese followed up with this:

“A number of shops owned by foreign nationals were targeted and looted by some unruly elements in some parts of Soweto and in other areas. This saw a number of our people taking the law into their own hands.”

“We salute the role played by the men and women in blue uniform. We commend them for acting decisively to restore order.”

“This brought some level of stability and order in all the affected areas. The police have been mandated to investigate the circumstances that triggered the attacks and looting, or their underlying reasons.”

The visits form part of the provincial government’s efforts to bring about order and stability in the township business landscape under their O Kae Molao campaign. The campaign will be spearheaded by the Department of Economic Development (GDED).

“These unfortunate developments should not be de-linked from the broader economic and social challenges faced by our people.”

“It is within this context that as government we are working hard to deliver on our electoral mandate to create decent jobs and a better life for all.”  – Castro Ngobese.

“A clean-up” on its way for spaza shops

The GDED said while the attacks and looting could partly be attributed to allegations – that some of the shops are involved in selling illegal and fake products, there will be a clean-up of such goods in the market. Ngobese claims that all goods will be monitored.

“These goods and products will no longer have space or market in our townships. We are putting a stop from now onwards, working closely with all relevant enforcement agencies and entities tasked with the responsibility to vet or monitor such goods.”

A team from the provincial government has already been dispatched to monitor and intervene where necessary. Pilot operations were undertaken within Ekurhuleni from the 30th of August 2018.

The Executive Mayor of the City of Ekurhuleni, Mzwandile Masina, led a joint operation of South African Police Services, Ekurhuleni Metro Police Department, Home Affairs, Health, and city planning officials into the communities of Reiger Park, Tembisa and Thokoza.

Over the three-day operation, 51 spaza shops where inspected, 37 shops were closed down for further investigation, over 25 undocumented immigrants were detained, and over eight tons of suspicious goods were seized and sent to the health laboratories for testing.

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