Immigration officers have arrested 27 undocumented illegal immigrants during the metro’s joint operation to inspect spaza shops for counterfeit and expired goods.
According to Phakamile Mbengashe, spokesperson of the mayor the joint operation, which included Home Affairs, SAPS and City of Ekurhuleni, led to the additional arrest and detention of five shop owners for contravening the Immigration Act by employing undocumented foreign immigrants.
“About 13 shops were thoroughly inspected. Twelve were issued with notices of intended prosecution for failure to produce a certificate of acceptability,” said Mbengashe.
All 12 shops were closed immediately.
“Some of the health hazard items included meat packages that did not indicate a sell-by date, illicit cigarettes, expired and rotten food, and unlabelled frozen mixed veggies, among others.”
The items were confiscated and are scheduled to be destroyed.
Addressing the community of Ramaphosa in Boksburg, mayor Mzwandile Masina said: “We are not here to perpetrate wrong things. We attended shops owned by both South Africans and non-South African citizens.
“We are not here to victimise foreign nationals but we will not tolerate individuals who are not prepared to adhere to the laws of the country,” said Masina.
“We have come to appreciate this is bigger than we have thought, and it requires a sustainable programme, which we will soon announce. It is disturbing that out of the 13 shops inspected, we filled to capacity three eight-ton trucks with confiscated material.”
The mayor instructed members of his mayoral committee to continue leading similar operations until those responsible find it uncomfortable to sell fake and expired food in Ekurhuleni.
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