Immigration officers arrested 27 undocumented illegal foreigners during a joint operation to inspect spaza shops for counterfeit and expired goods in Gauteng’s East Rand.
The joint operation, led by Ekurhuleni Mayor Mzwandile Masina, included Home Affairs, SAPS and City of Ekurhuleni officials.
An additional five shop-owners were arrested and detained for contravening the Immigration Act by employing undocumented foreign immigrants.
“About 13 shops were thoroughly inspected out of which 12 were issued with notices of intended prosecution for failure to produce a certificate of acceptability. All 12 shops were closed immediately,” the metro said in a statement.
Some of the health hazardous items included meat packages that did not indicate a sell-by date, illicit cigarettes, expired and rotten food, and unlabelled frozen mixed veggies, amongst other items.
The confiscated goods are scheduled to be destroyed today.
Addressing the community of Ramaphosa Informal Settlement in Boksburg, the Mayor 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.
“We have come to appreciate that this is bigger than we have thought, and it requires a sustainable programme, which we will soon announce.”
The Mayor said was disturbing that out of the 13 shops inspected, officials filled to capacity three 8-ton trucks with confiscated material.
Masina has instructed members of his mayoral committee to continue leading similar operations across Ekurhuleni until those responsible find it uncomfortable to sell fake and expired food.
The Mayor will lead another operation in Tembisa.