Police Minister Bheki Cele says the fight against counterfeit goods in South Africa will now include stricter border control.
The minister added that it’s no good cracking down on operations in the country when it’s clear the counterfeit goods emanate from South Africa’s ports.
Cele was addressing the International Law Enforcement Intellectual Property Crime Conference in Cape Town on Tuesday.
He said as a national police force, “we have declared war against the selling of illegal goods, especially in Gauteng”.
The conference – now in its 13th year and making its first appearance on the African continent – is themed “Fighting IP crime through innovation and cooperation” and continues until Wednesday.
During his keynote address to delegates, Cele emphasised that raids would continue to take place within the counterfeit market, even going as far as boasting about the successes police have had over the last few months as goods valued at more than R235m were seized.
However, Cele said police have asked pertinent questions on how to effectively close the net on the sale of illegal goods. The answer, he said, was in better vigilance and a crackdown on South Africa’s entry points.
“We do it (crackdowns) almost every Thursday,” Cele began, before turning to the police’s escalation plan.
“One thing we have looked at is why we find these items in Johannesburg when they clearly come via ships … so we are increasing our awareness along the big ports, which include Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Durban and Richards Bay.
“We are working with other law enforcement officials such as Home Affairs, the South African Revenue Service (SARS) and the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) on the border to try and stop those items before they even enter the country,” he said.
He added, “so if you bring all those officials, that is a war against these fake goods”.
The conference continues with deliberations on digital security, managing information and capacity building.