A multi-million Rand haul of counterfeit goods at Ngqura port by police again puts the spotlight on the need for increased security both in South African waters and at the country’s ports.
According to an SA Police Service statement “sea border members” attached to Eastern Cape police received information on a container possibly containing fake goods. The container, according to police, was destined for East London via the port of Ngqura.
This saw a search activated, along with SA Revenue Service (SARS) officials at Ngqura. With the shipping agent’s representative present the suspect container was opened and found full of sunglasses, belts, sling bags, watches and other branded goods.
Colonel Sibongile Soci said a count revealed the haul to be more than seven thousand pairs of sunglasses, 960 Tommy Hilfiger belts, 360 Swiss Gear backpacks, 400 Gucci sling bags, 1 400 plus branded watches and 52 000 branded “Smooth pens”.
All told the haul was worth R45 553 400. Everything is thought to be counterfeit and was handed to SARS Customs and Excise for safekeeping and further examination.
In a separate incident Eastern Cape police arrested three suspects after stopping a suspicious vehicle on the N2 en route to Cape Town.
A search of the vehicle saw “an undisclosed amount of cash” discovered along with 708 mobile phones and accessories. Patent attorneys, Soci said, confirmed all items found were counterfeit.
Commenting on the successful busts, acting Eastern Cape Provincial Commissioner Major General Andre Swart said: “Fake and counterfeit products pose a serious risk to the country’s economy as South Africa loses tax revenue to the illicit trade. The community is urged to refrain from buying counterfeit goods and report any suspicious behaviour to the police”.