The Gauteng Provincial Government says it will dispatch a team to get a deeper understanding of the grievances raised by residents in Soweto over fake and expired goods sold at spaza shops.
MEC for Economic Development, Environment, Agriculture and Rural Development, Lebogang Maile, said there has been a growing scale of fake goods destined for and being sold in shops in townships around the province.
“If the root cause of the looting and targeting of foreign national owned shops is the selling of fake products and goods… as government, we need to act in the best interest of our people.
“Tough action needs to be taken against those responsible, but this does not require the affected communities to take the law into their own hands,” said Maile, who further condemned the looting.
Some residents resorted to looting, violence and general lawlessness as they raided multiple shops belonging to foreign nationals during sporadic attacks in White City, Jabulani, Dobsonville, Chiawelo, Naledi, Protea and Protea Glen.
Goods including groceries worth thousands of rands were reportedly stolen after the first incident broke out in White City over expired food being sold in foreign-owned shops.
It is alleged that the targeting and looting of the shops is mainly because of the fake products and goods sold at cheaper prices by some of these foreign owned shops.
Most foreign shop owners have packed up and left Soweto while some victims have sought refuge at Moroka police station.
Three people have died and 27 people have been arrested for various crimes including murder, attempted murder, possession of unlicensed firearms and public violence.
According to police, two unlicensed firearms were seized and more arrests are expected.
In recent weeks, the Gauteng Department of Economic Development (GDED), specifically the Gauteng Office of Consumer Affairs, has been inundated with complaints from consumers.
Maille said fake goods are not only a health risk but also bad for the economy of the province and the country at large.
“We will be intensifying our programme ‘O Kae Molao’ working closely with relevant law enforcement agencies to crack down on shops that sell fake products and goods.”
Police have intensified deployments and will remain on the ground monitoring the situation closely to ensure law and order are maintained.
Members of the community are urged to report all elements of criminality in their area by calling the SAPS Crime Stop toll-free line on 08600 10111. Callers may remain anonymous and any information received will be treated with the strictest confidentiality. – SAnews.gov.za